Boost Your Knowledge With Audio Lectures

Do you want to boost your knowledge? There is one way that has become a new favorite of mine: listening to lectures. Among others, doing that has allowed me to write a post on overconfidence.
I’ve been a fan of audio learning for a long time, but in the past I mostly used the time to listen to podcasts. Recently, however, I spend more and more time listening to lectures. There are three reasons for this:

  1. Lectures give me deeper understanding of a topic
    Unlike podcasts which could be all over the place, lectures are designed to dig deep into a topic. I love the depth of understanding I get from listening to lectures.
  2. Lectures satisfy my curiosity
    I’m curious about many things and listening to lectures is a good way to satisfy my curiosity. There are lectures available on practically every topic imaginable. Furthermore, there is something different about listening as compared to reading. It gives me a fresh way to look at a subject.
  3. Lectures give me competitive advantage
    In A Simple Guide to Finding Opportunities, I wrote that unconventional resources give you competitive advantage because less people use it. Audio lectures can be considered unconventional. Many people listen to podcasts, but how many of them listen to lectures? Not many, I believe. This is a good opportunity to increase my value.

Moreover, as with audio learning in general, I don’t need to spend extra time to listen to them. I can just use any low-intensity time I have. How good is that?
Now that we’ve seen some benefits of audio lectures, how should we learn from them? Here is how I do it:

  1. Find interesting lectures
    My favorite place is iTunes U. It has tons of high-quality lectures that you can easily navigate. The important thing is to find something that’s interesting to you. This won’t be a problem if you are a curious person.
  2. Download the lectures
    I usually listen to the lectures while doing something else, so I just download the audio version. Of course, you may download the video version if you want to.
  3. Find low-intensity time
    You need to find low-intensity time for audio learning. In my case, I can’t do it while reading or writing. But for other tasks that require less concentration, I can usually parallel them with audio learning. Your commute or gym time can be used for this. There are more tips available about it in 6 Low-Intensity Moments for Audio Learning.
  4. Take notes of key terms
    I don’t take extensive notes since it will take too much time. Instead, I just write the key terms I find. Since I already learn about the terms in the lecture, simply reading the list reminds me of the whole concept. On the other hand, the list can help me learn more about the topics that interest me.
  5. Read relevant Wikipedia articles
    This is where my list of terms becomes useful. Since I already know the terms, I can easily find relevant Wikipedia articles that cover them. This deepens my understanding of the subject. I don’t apply this to all terms but only to those that I find interesting.

I believe that this single habit can make a big difference in the long term. I’m inspired by the breadth of topics that Bill Gates learns and this is the best method I’ve found so far to achieve similar results. It won’t give me as deep understanding as it would be if I fully follow the lectures, but it helps me learn the most important concepts. Later on, if I want to learn more about them, I already know where to go since I have the context in my mind.
Photo by Zitona


  1. I totally agree.. I drive for approx 50km a day, so I recently found out that it would be the best time for some books. I starfed with: How to Win Friends and Influence People (audiobook). It’s the best usage of this time!

  2. It is a great way actually. Been using it for years. Hope it helps you too in a profound way.

  3. Audio lectures are great! There are also a lot of very informative and fun podcasts out there. I’m a commuter as well, and look forward to the 1-hour drive twice a day!

  4. Rafek,
    50 km a day? Sounds like a lot of time for audio learning 🙂 I love How to Win Friends and Influence People, by the way.
    Indeed. it’s been really helpful to me.
    Yes, there are many interesting audio programs out there. This is a great time for audio learning.

  5. I really like this article.. ^_^
    it’s really inspiring.. I often not listening to the lectures because they’re so boring but I actually realized with just little effort (by listening to them), i had saved my time several times to understand it myself by reading books.. honestly, listening to the lecturers makes me deeper understanding because they already extracted the knowledge into global summary…
    i will remember your words every time I feel bored and plan to skip my class.. ^_^
    thanks Don

  6. Sonya,
    Glad you like it 🙂 That’s right, listening to lectures can save hours of your reading time. Good luck for your study!

  7. […] Listening to personal development/Internet marketing audios has made a huge difference in my life.  That’s why I highly recommend you read Donald’s post about how to boost your knowledge with audio lectures. […]

  8. Thanks for this hint on audio lectures,will surely give it a trial.

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