Published on 2012/05/01

Technology, Lectures And Intelligence Theories

Technology, Lectures And Intelligence Theories
If employers moved into an online setting, their capacity to deliver learning to their students would grow exponentially. Photo by Jenny Downing.

Howard Gardner introduced us to the concept of different kinds of intellectual quotients (IQ) in the 1980s.  Eventually identifying approximately eight kinds of intelligence, Gardner promoted the idea that the concepts around how teaching and learning occurs is more complex, accounting for the multiple ways individuals learn and understand information.  Separated into the areas of bodily-kinesthetic, intrapersonal, interpersonal, linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, naturalistic, and spatial intelligences; these intelligences were theorized to be useful in capitalizing on successful information transfer.

As young students study basic mathematical, grammatical, and other primary subjects, teachers utilize a variety of tools to help learning occur.  From blocks serving as manipulatives that let students actually create a math problem, to talking through an important historical moment and its impact on culture; students are able to learn with greater success by applying the information in a way that matches their natural learning style.  Through many flourishing college curriculums a vast majority of educators grasp that not all students learn the same way and that they can help students be more successful in learning effectively by tapping into the diverse learning strength of the students.

Taking the leap in learning from formal education to professional training may leave those in attendance finding that these individual styles of learning are overlooked.  As technology becomes more prevalent in training and online instructional venues are used to create global learning platforms, some are starting to realize that the often seen webinar lecture style format can create weak knowledge transfer.

Technology makes a wonderful impact in sharing information globally across many different professions and areas of training.  However, the very style of a webinar can lead to difficulties in moving beyond the lecture style to broaden the approach to meet the potential intelligences of those attending.  Being aware that there are options and ways to be creative in our training methods, we can consider how information is presented and use inventive attempts to utilize these intelligences.

Consider some of the examples below as a beginning thought to start your own creativity.

  • Consider how bodily-kinesthetic intelligence can be utilized in training by providing a test system, computer model, or a sample to manipulate and move through.
  • We generally ask for an RSVP to a webinar so we know who to send out the log-in information to.  Perhaps use this as a vehicle for a pre-training poll, closed prior to the training with time for the participants to receive the results, analyze and come up with their own conclusions.  Then, utilize the information in an integrated way within the webinar to increase attendee participation and tap into those of logical-mathematical intelligence.
  • We always believe that it is important to consider how our presentation looks.  Move past excellent grammar and catchy clip-art to consideration of color and strong visual imagery to better reach those with spatial intelligence.
  • Utilize a webcam to provide a way to see the presenter and other attendees could be beneficial for those with interpersonal intelligence.

In the new frontier of global web-based learning, we are just starting to become widely comfortable with the technology that is being used.  As this occurs on a more wide-spread basis, the next step will be to attempt to better meet the needs of those attending and consider how they learn.  In turn, the attendees will manage the learning of information in a way that is more successful and useful for them and thus more profitable for the company.

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Readers Comments

Chuck Schwartz 2012/05/01 at 4:36 pm

There’s almost no question that we should be implementing online learning in the workplace. My question is whether smaller companies can afford such systems? Beyond just a simple just-in-time knowledge Wiki…

Jessica 2012/05/08 at 11:41 am

Good question, we always have to consider cost versus profit. We also need to consider that web based training is already occurring with growing frequency, and not just by traditional training companies. While there may be more preparation time in making a training event more interactive and thus a higher cost, if the learner gains more knowledge it needs to be considered a better growth investment back into potential profitability. All that said, I would suggest moving this particular topic area away from a system concept initially, and focus instead on asking how the learner is being engaged. If it is only a lecture, what can I do to make it more interactive? If this is a paper to read, how can I seek out feedback?

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