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Using Online Training to Tap into Multiple Intelligences

By Sep Barkhodaee
Published on September 8, 2013

In his groundbreaking book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, celebrated psychologist and educator Howard Gardner offered readers a radical new concept of intelligence. Through eLearning in an online training software, or traditional means, knowing intelligence is essential. Rather than seeing it as a faculty some possessed or did not possess, Gardner claimed that intelligence operated in a number of separate but distinct modes. Employee A may have a real knack for math, but only limited ability with the written word. Meanwhile, Employee B might write with polish and gusto, while struggling with the most basic math equations. For Gardner this didn’t make Employee A smarter than Employee B, or vice-versa. It meant that Employees A and B had different intelligences that complimented each other. Gardner identified eight core intelligences based on observations of brain activity:


  • 1 – Musical-rhythmic: Learners with strong aptitudes in this intelligence displays an aptitude with sounds, rhythms and tones. They tend to be effective auditory learners


  • 2 – Visual-spatial: These learners excel at visualizing and using spatial judgment. They often learn best when given visual information or through interaction and experimentation with the space around them.


  • 3 – Verbal-linguistic: These learners are expert storytellers. They can memorize words and use language effectively. They often learn by reading or listening.


  • 4 – Logical-mathematical: This intelligence possesses the ability to solve complex abstract issues and look for underlying causes. They may ask many questions and rely on discussion, or scenarios to master a concept.


  • 5 – Bodily-kinesthetic: These learners tend to require physical interaction and activity in order to master concepts. They display strong coordination and physical ability.


  • 6 – Interpersonal: This intelligence is focused on the interaction between individuals and is characterized by insight and sensitivity directed at others. They make excellent leaders, but often need to talk and interact in order to master new skills or knowledge.


  • 7 – Intrapersonal: These are reflective learners who take the time to think through the implication and overall meaning of new content or information. They need time to process and work independently to master a new concept or idea.


  • 8 – Naturalistic: This intelligence is characterized by the ability to sort and categorize the material and living world around them. They need inquiry based activities to really grasp new information.


Some learners will be high in a number of these areas; others will have one or two, which they excel at. Knowing where your employees’ fall is critical to getting them in the right role and getting them the right support to be successful. A learning management system (LMS) can help you differentiate to meet all your employees’ learning needs. Why not build a scavenger hunt activity into your learning module to help your naturalists learn through inquiry? How about a video for our visual-spatial and musical-rhythmic staff members? Why not give your logical-mathematical and intrapersonal learners questions to answer and reflect on? What about a discussion group to help the interpersonal and verbal-linguistic learners work through things together. This sounds complicated on the surface, but with an LMS all of these activities can be going on simultaneously, ensuring quick and effective mastery of training material by all employees. Best of all it lets you, the employer, know where their aptitudes lie, helping you better manage your human resources, increasing productivity and employee satisfaction. In actuality, learning has never been easier.

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