While there is a definitive learning style that works best for everyone, another factor that comes into play is Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Basically, the theory states that there are seven different types of intelligence, that can influence learning style and indicate a person’s strengths in regards to different skill sets. Let’s explore these types:
Visual/Spatial Intelligence: Visual and spatial thinkers tend to think in pictures rather than words. They have an easier time imagining an end-look, or how something may look in a rearranged space.
Strengths: Puzzle building, reading, writing, understanding charts and graphs, sketching, painting, creating visual metaphors and analogies, manipulating images, constructing, fixing, designing practical objects, interpreting visual images. Visual and spatial learners often have a good sense of direction.
Best suited careers: navigators, sculptors, visual artists, inventors, architects, interior designers, mechanics, engineers
Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence: This type of intelligence is all about understanding and using words. Typically, verbal thinkers are also auditory learners as they have an easier time processing words than they do pictures.
Strengths: listening, speaking, writing, story telling, explaining, teaching, using humor, understanding the syntax and meaning of words, remembering information, convincing someone of their point of view, analyzing language usage.
Best suited careers: poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, translator
Logical/Mathematical Intelligence: This type of thinker is excellent at processing complex information, specifically at finding relationships between different types of information. They tend to be very logical and methodic in their way of thinking and have an affinity for experimentation.
Strengths: Problem solving, categorizing information, working with abstract concepts , handling long chains of reason, doing controlled experiments, performing complex calculations, working with geometric shapes.
Best suited careers: scientists, engineers, computer programmers, researchers, accountants, mathematicians
Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence: Kinesthetic types have fantastic hand-eye coordination and an excellent command of their movements. If you’ve ever noticed how gracefully a person seems to move, or if their walk is more of a glide, it’s likely that they have a high degree of kinesthetic intelligence.
Strengths: Dancing, sports, hands on experimentation, using body language, crafts, acting, miming, using their hands to create or build.
Best suited careers: athletes, physical education teachers, dancers, actors, firefighters, artisansMusical/Rhythmic Intelligence: This type of thinker retains information best through songs, jingles or different rhythmic patterns. Did “one-two buckle my shoe” help you to learn to count? If so, you may be more musically inclined. Creating little tunes can help you to retain information longer and more quickly that listening or watching alone.
Strengths: singing, whistling, playing musical instruments, recognizing tonal patterns, composing music, remembering melodies, understanding the structure and rhythm that makes music.
Best suited careers: Musician, singer, composer, DJ
Interpersonal Intelligence: Interpersonals are great at dealing with others and learn best from the interaction. If you find yourself needing to “talk through” most things with someone else, chances are you posses a high level of interpersonal intelligence.
Strengths: seeing things from other perspectives, listening, using empathy, understanding other people’s moods and feelings, counseling, co-operating with groups, noticing people’s moods, motivations and intentions, communicating both verbally and non-verbally, building trust, conflict resolution, establishing positive relationships.
Best suited careers: counselor, salesperson, politician, business person
Intrapersonal Intelligence: This type of thinker has a naturally strong sense of self. They typically know their own habits and tendencies very well and have a deep understanding of their emotions. They do best learning in a solitary environment with ample time for reflection.
Strengths: recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses, analyzing themselves, awareness of their inner feelings, desires and dreams, evaluating their thinking patterns, reasoning with themselves, understanding their role in relationship to others.
Best suited careers: Researchers, theorists, philosophers
What is most important to note about multiple intelligences is that we all possess all of them, in different degrees. It is simply where our strengths and natural tendencies lie that can help us to craft a better way of learning and a lifestyle better suited to our own unique set of intelligence. Instead of working against the current and trying to shoehorn ourselves into an educational format or career that doesn’t align with our inherent strengths, we can seek out what will bring us success, naturally.
What’s your intellectual strength? Tell us in the comments below.