Multiple Intelligences in Virtual and Traditional Skill Instructional Learning Environments

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this investigation was to examine (a) how Multiple Intelligence (MI) strengths correlate to learning in virtual and traditional environments and (b) the effectiveness of learning with and without an authority figure in attendance. Participants (N=69) were randomly assigned to four groups, administered the Multiple Intelligences Developmental Assessment Scales (MIDAS[TM]), were taught to fly cast, and were assessed on skill, form and accuracy. Results from this investigation imply that participants" who score high in verbal/linguistic will be more likely to excel in virtual environments for tasks that require skill and accuracy, whereas when tasks require extensive form acquisition components the traditional classroom environment will most likely be more effective. Additionally, traditional instruction correlated with more MI profiles than any groups suggesting that for the gamut of MI in an instructional setting, traditional methods may be more effective than virtual learning environments.

An Examination of Multiple Intelligences in Virtual and Traditional Instructional Learning Environments

Introduction to Multiple Intelligences

In 1983, Gardner proposed that there were many different ways to demonstrate intellectual ability and his theory of Multiple Intelligences identified the following eight intellectual abilities: Verbal/Linguistic, Visual/Spatial, Mathematical/Logical, Musical/Rhythmic, Bodily/Kinesthetic, Naturalist, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal (see Figure. 1) Within this theory he suggests that individuals have different intellectual strengths and weaknesses, and in order to optimize the teaching/learning environment, a teacher/coach must identify and teach to these abilities. Some portion of instruction should incorporate activities that address all intelligences, with the greater portion of MI instruction concentrating on learner's strengths. Creating MI infused instruction requires a departure from the traditional paradigms of teaching.

MI Applications in the Classroom

Implementation of MI approaches to teaching have major implications about how one approaches instructional tasks (Armstrong, 1994). Traditional instructional approaches utilize a linear process characterized by 1) lecture, 2) questions to check for understanding, 3) implementation of an application activity and 4) lesson review. This traditional instructional approach was described by Mosston (1994) as a demonstration of the entire task, its parts as well as any terminology and the learner response as following and performing the task when directed and as demonstrated. In short, this approach is teacher-centered instruction which represents more of a command style of teaching in which decisions about what was said, when it was said and what students do originates with the teacher. With MI centered instruction, there is a shift from a 'one size fits all' to a learning paradigm in which instruction is directed to the strengths of all students in a class.

Additionally, MI enhanced instruction may be for implemented to support learning for those who possess disabilities as well as those who demonstrate exceptional learning abilities. The use of MI enhanced instruction is championed for learners with disabilities in preschool through the college classroom. MI proponents suggest that even preschool children identified with learning disabilities should be immersed in MI infused instruction to foster discovery of their own interests and talents (Rettig, 2005). Hironaka-Juteau (2006) introduced MI infused instruction by having students complete an inventory designed to identify MI strengths followed by class discussions prior to implementation. Following the implementation of instruction, students reported, "... that they develop an awareness of themselves, and a realization that they are smart in their own way" (p. 160). The use of MI supports the detection of intellectual strengths which results in increased learner self-esteem, perceived self-competence and greater learning (Lumsden, 1997). …