Know thy audience

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Frames of Mind, 1983) proposes the following means of information processing:

  1. Verbal/ Linguistic (plays with words): The learner who loves to play with language, to tell stories and read and write. This learner is good at remembering names, places, quotes, etc. If given an opportunity to also hear, see and say words, their capacity for learning is limitless.
  2. Logical/ Mathematical (plays with questions/ puzzles): The learner who likes to figure things out by asking questions, exploring and experimentation. Learns best when provided with opportunities to classify, categorize and work with abstractions and their relationship to one another.
  3. Visual/ Spatial (plays with pictures and shapes): The visually artistic learner especially proficient at sensing visual changes, reading charts and maps. Information is best absorbed by visualizing, using the ‘mind’s eye’, manipulating pictures, shapes and colour.
  4. Musical/ Rhythmic (plays with music): Prefers information with intrinsic rhythm, delivered in a non-linear, organic manner (branches out).
  5. Bodily/ Kinesthetic (plays with movement and moving): A learner in motion, using the body to express ideas. Prefer to interact with the environment in order to process, and remember new information through the body.
  6. Inter-personal (Socializes, plays with people and politics): The joiner. Prefers displays that allow for comparison and contrast, interview others with and about information, sharing ideas (i.e. chat rooms), and cooperating to accomplish any given task.
  7. Intra-personal (Independent, plays solo): This learner really does better alone, pursuing self-defined interests. New information is absorbed best when the projects are individual, self-paced, and oriented towards the achievement of a personal goal.

Kolb’s Learning Styles:

Kolb proposed the following Continuum of Learning Styles:

Concrete Experience: We need to be involved both physically and intellectually in order to understand new information (provide hands-on practices, do-it yourself examples, practical experiences, maximum interactivity)

Reflective Observation: We need to filter and express new information through your own thoughts (provide ways to keep logs, journals, and notes about the experience, customize information in ways to make it meaningful to us.

Abstract Conceptualization: We tend to see patterns of meaningful relationships among different pieces of information. We create our own theories in order to explain and retain new information (enhanced by links to related material, research papers, and reference indexes. Incorporating analogies into the content will make it easier for the user to verify the validity of his/ her theories.)

Active Experimentation: We rework and internalize new information immediately with little effort, and we directly apply it to solve problems and make decisions (provide simulations, case studies and practice work.)

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