Learning Types and the Theory of Multiple Intelligences

22 September 2021

As we learn more about the human brain and how it works, we have discovered that human beings have a variety of ways in which they learn and retain knowledge. Knowing how one learns best can help educators to design educational programs and courses tailored to an individual’s learning style, which in turn can increase the likelihood that that learner will retain the information that they are taught and improve their skills. Most of us are familiar with the ideas of visual learning, auditory learning, and kinesthetic learning: all learning styles that incorporate different methods of absorbing and retaining information. Developmental researcher Howard Gardner theorizes that human intelligence can be differentiated into specific “modalities of intelligence”. According to Gardner’s theory, intelligence can manifest in at least eight ways: linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.



Linguistic or verbal intelligence refers to the ability to understand and extract meaning from written and spoken language. This form of intelligence is often associated with problem solving, abstract thinking, and working memory.



Logical-Mathematical intelligence, also known rationality is the ability to make rational decisions through the use of logical-reasoning. One’s intelligence and perception of the world is based on existing information and/or new information. Rationality is often associated with the fields of philosophy, science, language, mathematics, and art.



Musical-rhythmic and harmonic intelligence refers to one’s sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, and tones of music. Those who possess musicality often have good pitch and excel at singing, playing instruments, and composing music.



Spatial intelligence encompasses one’s ability to visualize information in one’s mind. Spatial intelligence is used to solve problems using space and visualization, including navigation and scene recognition. Spatial awareness can also be translated through tactile sensations (touch).



Bodily intelligence refers to the ability to control one’s body and movements skillfully. Those with bodily intelligence are usually good at handling objects skillfully and excel in physical activities such as athletics and building.



Interpersonal intelligence refers tone’s sensitivity to the emotions and feelings of others. Those who possess interpersonal skills have the ability to engage and work well with others as well as compromise and empathize with others.



Those with intrapersonal intelligence are often skilled at self-reflection. They have a deep understanding of self and are skilled. And understanding their strengths and weaknesses. They are often emotionally intelligent as well.



Naturalistic intelligence refers intelligence about the natural world. They can easily identify and distinguish different plants and animals and can make good decisions regarding their surroundings.

Gardener’s theory has received wide praise as well as criticism. Many in the psychological field believe that Gardner’s theory lacks experimental evidence. Gardener states that his theory is based on empirical evidence rather than experimental evidence. Though widescale experimental testing has yet to be conducted on these theories, they are widely accepted by many educators and have even been integrated into the creation of more personalized learning program. One such programs includes Project Zero, a program designed to nurture students’ talents in a variety of subjects.