Monday, May 13, 2013

Learning Styles Versus Multiple Intelligences

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Looking at learning styles and trying three different learning style assessments, I was surprised to discover I am an auditory learner. I had always assumed I was a visual learner, maybe because I once heard that the visual learner is more common than the other two (and that in itself could very well be an inaccurate statement). I think this is why I tried three different inventories, because I was not totally convinced of the results. 

But upon further reflection, I can see why the results would indicate that I am an auditory learner. Even when I look at my daily routines, I rely a lot more on audio for news and information (podcasts and radio streams) than I do the written word. I always figured it was because listening to news and information, as opposed to reading it, allows me to do other activities at the same time (like drive a car). 

At first glance, one might conclude that it may be easier to determine what someone's learning style is if you know his/her strongest multiple intelligence. At least some of the multiple intelligences could possibly make it easier to determine learning styles. For example, verbal-linguistic intelligence may be linked to auditory learners while learners who are strongest in bodily-kinesthetic intelligence could also be tactile/kinesthetic learners. But such assumptions, of course, could be completely inaccurate and misleading. 

I would argue that intelligence has more to do with how we think about and interact with the world while a learning style is more related to how we gain knowledge and learn about the world. Sometimes the two may go hand in hand, but other times they may be very separate entities. Barbara Prashnig in Learning Styles Vs. Multiple Intelligences describes Multiple Intelligences as "the 'OUTPUT' function of information intake, knowledge, skills and 'talent' - mathematical, musical, linguistic, etc., whereas Learning Styles can be seen as explaining information 'INPUT' capabilities of human beings." She points out that "students with similar intelligence factors in the MI framework can have vastly different learning styles, based on their personal biological makeup and their individual conditioning."

So now I know my strongest intelligence is naturalist and my learning style is auditory. Perhaps a reflective walk through the woods listening to an audiobook or podcast on the different types of trees in New Brunswick is in order. Or am I defeating the purpose?

Learning Styles Assessment Sites I used:

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