Online Students – What’s Your Learning Style?

In 1983, Howard Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligences in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. This theory has been widely discussed and criticized in the academic and psychology communities. Gardner himself cautions against using his theory to label students as one type of learner or another.

learning style imageHowever, as an online student, being aware of your strengths and weaknesses when learning new material is crucial to your success. Gardner’s theory proposed seven basic “intelligences:”

  • Visual (spatial):You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  • Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.
  • Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

An online student who is a strong social learner might need to make a concerted effort to incorporate social interaction into their studies. Students strong in visual intelligence may learn quicker with online presentations, while a student strong in aural intelligence may prefer to listen to a lecture. Being aware of these choices can help an online student enforce their learning by focusing on their strengths.

What are your strengths? For fun, try this quiz to identify your preferred learning style: