Using Multiple Intelligences to Build a Culture of Learning

Understanding How Facilitation Technology Works

"I am a visual learner." commented one workshop participant. "But they tell me that the only way I can learn is by doing. For me, I need both."

Building a culture takes an understanding of learning, especially if you want people to learn new tools that they can apply to change behavior. One thing to remember, of course, is that nobody is simply one or the other of these types. We are all a combination of different things that, when taken together, give us a complete learning experience.

"How would the proverbial Martian landing on Earth view the intelligence of the human species?" That's the provocative question asked by Harvard professor of education, Howard Gardner.

Would he (it?) demand to know individual IQs? Or would he (it) be interested in those humans performing exceptionally well in particular fields–the chess master, the orchestral conductor, perhaps even the athlete? These accomplished people are undoubtedly considered to be talented and intelligent. Why then do our methods of assessing intelligence often fail to identify them? Why is it that people with IQs of 160 end up working for people with IQs of 100?

Gardener developed the "Theory of Multiple Intelligences" which says, in effect, that IQ should not be measured as an absolute figure in the way that height, weight or blood pressure are. It's a crucial blunder, he maintains, to assume that IQ is a single fixed entity which can be measured by a pencil and paper test.

It's not how smart you are but how you are smart, says Gardner. As human beings, we all have a repertoire of skills, he says, for solving different kinds of problems. And he defines intelligence this way: "An intelligence is an ability to solve a problem or fashion a product which is valued in one or more cultural settings."
Gardner revealed his theory in his ground-breaking book "Frames of Mind" in which he outlined seven distinct intelligences. He subsequently added an eighth.

Click here to read about Gardner's 8 intelligences and the types of learners.