Understanding Adult Learning Theories


AMTA's Master the Classroom online course "Building Blocks: Basics of Effective Teaching" provides an overview of learning theories and principles as they apply to the adult learner, crucial knowledge for any effective massage therapy educator. Lessons cover foundational and theoretical material including theories of learning, learning styles, learning strategies, collaborative learning techniques, and motivational theories of learning. Check out one popular theory: multiple intelligences.

Howard Gardner, PhD’s Multiple Intelligence Theory

Gardner’s research on multiple intelligences is one way to look at learning preferences. Gardner expanded the definition of intelligence. His work has influenced how many people approach teaching. The traditional IQ definition of intelligence characterizes intelligence as something that is singular, genetically based and predictable (from a young age). In other words, we are stuck with what we are born with and there is little, if anything, we can do to change it.

Gardner’s research countered this idea with a view that intelligence is multi-faceted and malleable. Gardner’s expanded idea of intelligence divides intelligence into eight categories and proposes that each person may have a number of different intelligences. These different intelligences or learning styles/abilities are another way to look at how to meet the needs of your students.

Gardner’s Eight Categories of Intelligence[1]

Intelligence

Core components

Teaching Strategies

Linguistic

Use of language—sensitive to sounds, ability to manipulative words

Use writing, journaling, discussions

Logical-Mathematical

Use of mathematics—ability to use logical or numerical patterns

Use problem-solving, critical thinking

Spatial

Sensitive to the spatial world—ability to perceive, create patterns and images

Use of visualization, mind-mapping

Bodily-Kinesthetic

Body movement—ability to control body movements skillfully

Use of tactile and hands on activities

Musical

Ability to produce and appreciate rhythm, pitch timbre and forms of musical expression

Integration of music and sound into activities

Interpersonal

Relates to people

Use cooperative learning and social activities

Intrapersonal

Self-understanding—knowledge of one’s own strengths and weaknesses

Use of individual instruction and independent study opportunities

Naturalist

Understanding of nature. Ability to make distinctions in the natural world

Use of activities that relate to the natural world and biological sciences

 

AMTA's online courses are a convenient and cost-effective resource for gaining knowledge to better lead your school. Check out all of AMTA's online learning solutions

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