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Accommodating various types of intelligences can generate better learning outcomes. Understand the main intelligence types and how they lean.

Intelligence has been a hot topic for scientists for centuries, and in the last 30 years we have learned that there may just be more to being smart then merely testing well. Dr. Howard Gardner, a neuroscience professor at Harvard University, first coined the theory of Multiple Intelligences in 1983. His theory defies the wide-believed notion that intelligence can be measured with short-answer standardized tests. Instead, he believed that there could be multiple kinds of intelligence, and everyone had their own distinctive combination of these intelligences.

Many instructors are looking for ways to make their course content more engaging, and one unique way to do that is to think about these different learning styles. Some believe that this will generate better outcomes (like student engagement!).

Accommodating various types of intelligences could generate better learning outcomes. Today, we will discuss several types of intelligences and how you can adapt your teaching style to help your students succeed.

7 different types of intelligence (+ examples of how to teach them)

  1. Spatial

These learners like to conceptualize. They are aware of their environments and think in terms of space. They learn best using models, charts, photographs, and videos.

Example: Teach the different planets in the solar system by having students manipulate a scaled 3D model online.

  1. Bodily-kinesthetic

These learners are aware of their body. They are keen on touch, movement, and sensory awareness. They learn best by physically doing, learning hands-on, and role-playing.

Example: Teach choreography by having the students practice the steps at home.

  1. Musical

These learners are sensitive to sounds in their environment, such as rhythm, pitch, or tone. They learn best by using musical instruments, transforming lessons into lyrics, or listening to music while studying.

Example: Teach the stages of cell division by asking the student to compose a song about it.

  1. Linguistic

These learners are sensitive to the semantics, sound, and metre of words. They like to use language to explain complicated meanings. They learn best by reading, writing, storytelling, and abstract reasoning.

Example: Teach what caused a specific brand to grow by having students debate on the topic using thinkific communities.

  1. Logical-mathematical

These learners have the capacity to recognize patterns among actions or symbols and use inductive reasoning to conceptualize thought processes. They learn best by formulas, equations, operations, and thought maps.

Example: Teach students aspects of international trade by having them create a Venn diagram comparing the imports and exports between the US and Canada.

  1. Interpersonal

These learners are able to collaborate in a group and communicate ideas with other people. They are often sensitive to the changes in mood, temperaments, and the feelings of other people. They learn best by doing group projects.

Example: Teach creativity by inviting students to a Google Hangout and having them peer review each other’s personal work.

  1. Naturalistic

These learners appreciate the natural world and view various phenomena with a sense of wonder. They are able to identify and classify species, plants, flora, fauna, and physical history. They learn best by experiencing things firsthand, making observations, and exposing the senses to nature.

Example: Teach math tessellations by showing students natural plant patterning.


How many different types of intelligences does your course currently support?

Thinking about the information you are trying to teach in a different way can lead to a more diverse and engaging learning experience? Join the discussion or start creating a course for free today!