Cutting Edge Skills for Training and Facilitation: The Eight Intelligences

Howard Gardner, Harvard professor of education, believes that intelligence is more than what it has generally been defined.  He identifies eight intelligences, each being a different way to solve a problem or fashion a product that is valued different in various cultural settings.

When trainers and consultants conduct learning programs around strategy, facilitation skills, or leadership development, understanding the differenct types of intelligences people poses will increase learner satisfaction.1. Language Intelligence
This intelligence includes both verbal and written skills.  It applies to those who are drawn in by material that is written or verbally described by the facilitator.  Bring content to life with stories, descriptive narratives, editorials, well-written handouts, or even poems for these learners.  Key words, phrases, or quotes can be extremely moving and powerful for those of this intelligence.

2. Logical and Mathematical Intelligence
This intelligence involves logical sequencing of information and numbers.  Help these learners by teaching with statistics, facts, proven theories, and data.  Use step-by-step presentation of materials and activities that demonstrate logical application of knowledge, skills, and abilities.

3. Visual and Spatial Intelligence
This intelligence applies to those people who are able to use their imagination to create a picture, are able to see how something will look before it is finished, and are aware of and can calculate distances from one point to another.  Tap into their imagination and creativity during training with the use of experiential exercises and activities that allow them to think outside of the box.  Design activities that allow the participants to take a concept and explain it to others using visuals.

4. Music Intelligence
This intelligence is all about rhymes, rhythms, beats, and sounds.  These people are able to bring such sounds together in a manner that can be stimulating, refreshing, and relaxing.  Utilizing creative lyrics to support training concepts is a great way to draw out these learners.  Selecting the right type of music to play at the beginning of the training session, during breaks, and while they are having small group discussions and reflective time to help these learners process the material they are learning.

5. Physical Intelligence
This intelligence applies to such learners as dances, athletes, and surgeons.  These types have a physical intelligence that allows them to perform at maximum capacity using their body to get things done.  Target their training with hands-on activities that get them up and out of their seat and their bodies moving.  Learning by doing is essential to keeping their attention.

6. Interpersonal Intelligence
This is the social intelligence to communication and get along with others.  It translates into one’s ability to be a team player and deal with conflict in a proactive rather than a reactive manner.  Avoid lengthy lectures and presentations with these types.  Opt to use group learning activities and allow for opportunities to interact and connect with other participants during training.

7. Intrapersonal Intelligence
This intelligences deals with innermost feelings, what people know and feel about themselves.  It is one’s intrapersonal intelligence and understanding of self that gives us our individual levels of confidence and abilities to perform.  Engage these learners with opportunities to exam themselves, their skills, and their knowledge. Personality profiles, self-questionnaires, tests and quizzes, and opportunities to give and receive feedback are great ways to keep their interest and challenge their learning.

8. Naturalist Intelligence
This intelligence applies to those who have a sensitivity for and an appreciation of the natural elements of the environment.  These people respect and understand the delicate balance between humans and natural and are very in tune with their surroundings.  Help these learners by establishing an optimal learning environment.  Pay special attention to room temperature, set-up, and appearance to avoid their senses from distracting their learning.  If possible, conduct part of the training outside.

Adapted from:  Jim Vidakovich,  Trainers in Motion.

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About the Author

Cherissa Newton