Characteristics of Adult Learners

Multiple Intelligences

The concept of different learning styles isn’t new and I’m sure that most adults at some point have been in a learning environment where they think ‘this is just not working for me’. Even on the job training can be frustrating if it isn’t delivered in a style that compliments the learner’s experiences and capabilities. I have a good understanding about visual, auditory and tactile learners, but I wasn’t aware there were so many different types of learning styles. The theory of multiple intelligences was developed by Dr. Howard Gardner in 1983. Gardner articulates criteria for intelligence as well as the abilities that must be present in order to meet the criteria. I find this concept very interesting and am excited to learn more about it.

Being aware of the different learning styles (multiple intelligences), regardless of the age or demographic of a student group will assist with material delivery and development. It is important to really understand the fact that not everyone learns the same way, and to know that it is in the student’s best interest to provide them with a scope of learning options and multi-media. Providing options as an instructor should not be perceived as bending or being easy going about curriculum standards, it is about acknowledging that everyone’s perspective and experiences can be different. Experiences and perspective both affect how we absorb information and store knowledge. The more information  and tools I can use so that I don’t have to repeat myself or explain things more than a few times makes me a happy instructor!

The following link is a great breakdown and explanation of multiple intelligences.


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