Something to think about when planning and designing training or presentations.

I’ve spent a little time going through the portfolio that I created in 2003 when I was getting my CLIP certificate in, what was then called, teaching and learning but has now been changed to training and learning. (See NoWAL website:

Going back through the work and handouts has been great – I’ve remembered how much I got out of the course at the time and how much it shaped my current training style. It’s also underlined areas where I’ve forgotten stuff or where I’ve been getting a bit slapdash with my planning.

(…and planning really is the key to effective training and to reducing my stress levels as the trainer…I think I’ll try and blog later about tips and tricks I use to reduce the panic factor.)

Anyway I remembered from the course that people have different intelligences which can affect how they learn, and good training uses a variety of methods to appeal to multiple intelligences. So I thought it might be useful to go over this here.

Remember how boring that history teacher was, who only ever dictated in class? I also had lecturers who loved the sound of their own voices and read from their notes without including any other stimulation – no group work or even a hint of something to look at. Have you ever attended a course where the trainer, bamboozled you with formulae? I have. I remember a particularly hideous linguistics class where the teacher attempted to teach us how to break sentences up into different grammar points using tree diagrams. We were language students…chances are likening something to maths wasn’t going to do it for us…but there I go again – generalising wildly.

And that is really my point. You can’t really generalise in training, because everyone is different and different training methods appeal to different people and therefore can also put people off. After all I just described training methods that I don’t particularly like but some of you might have been thinking – actually that would work for me. Sometimes it is a case of splitting up your training into sections and trying to introduce a little variety.

So I’ve known all of this since I took the course but I’d forgotten what training methods or presentation formats appealed to which intelligence. Here is the list of the seven intelligences plus those formats and methods which appeal to them.

  • Linguistic
    • Lectures, handouts, making/taking notes
  • Logical/mathematical
    • Graphs, charts, formulae, numbering, bullet points, flow charts,
  • Visual/spatial
    • Pictures, visual analogy, colour, diagrams
  • Musical
    • Tone of voice, rhyme, lyrics
  • Bodily/Kinaesthetic
    • Touch, passing an object round, hands on
  • Interpersonal
    • Pair work, group work, case studies,
  • Intrapersonal
    • Silence for thinking and reflecting, asking questions “How would you put it into practice” questionnaires.

So as I said the trick is to try (if your learning outcomes/aims allow) to include a mixture so that you can try and appeal to everyone. Remember though – no matter how hard you try or how much planning you do – you are NEVER going to please absolutely everyone.

Hope this helps…

Taken from handout created and adapted by D. Dalley: CLIP Teaching and Learning Skills 2003.

  1. Ahhhh, now Gardner’s multiple intelligences is tangible, rather than purely theoretical. Lovely stuff, thanks!

    I must remember to not reject out-of-hand the flow-chart and bullet-point approach, which bores me rigid, but may appeal to others. Also, I can see that silence is a good thing, rather than an indicator of the students being confused or bored, which is how I too often interpret it.

    Finally, I am resolved to try some rapping* next time I teach. (*may not be true)

    • Glad this helped. I’d say particularly for your engineers, nods to maths intelligence might be useful. But don’t ruin your own flow (as it were) need stuff that taps into your intelligences too. That’s what’ll make ‘your’ style and how you’ll feel comfy performing it. :))

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