Multiple Intelligence theoryAlthough learning styles and multiple intelligence are similar, multiple intelligence theory is a fundamentally different thing. A psychologist called Dr Howard Gardener suggested that there are 8 different forms of intellectual ability. These intelligences are the ways that humans can process information. Each person will be naturally good and some tasks, but less good at others.


Multiple Intelligence Theory

The 8 multiple intelligences are:

  1. Verbal Linguistic: The ability to analyse information and produce language.
  2. Logical – Mathematical: The ability to develop equations and solve abstract problems.
  3. Visual – Spatial: The ability to understand maps, graphs and images.
  4. Musical: The ability to understand and give meaning to different types of sound. P
  5. Naturalistic: The ability to distinguish different types of plants and animals due to a deep understanding of the natural world.
  6. Bodily – Kinaesthetic: The ability to use your own body to solve problems or create things. .
  7. Interpersonal: The ability to understand other people’s perspectives, emotions and feelings.
  8. Intrapersonal: The ability to understand your own emotions, feelings and motivations.


Multiple intelligence and learning style are easy to confuse. This is because seven of the 8 multiple intelligences share a name traits with learning styles. The table below shows the learning styles and multiple intelligences that are easy to confuse.  

Intelligence Learning Style
Verbal – Linguistic Verbal
Logical – Mathematical Logical
Visual – Spatial Visual
Musical Aural / Auditory
Bodily – Kinaesthetic Physical / Kinaesthetic
Interpersonal Social /Interpersonal
Intrapersonal Solitary/ Interpersonal


Despite these similarities, learning styles and multiple intelligence theory are not the same thing. Multiple intelligence theory suggests there are different tasks that your child will be good at. However, learning styles are the way that a person approaches the task. For example, a person may have high interpersonal intelligence. This means they understand other people’s feelings very easily. However, they may be a solitary learner. They may best understand what a person is thinking or feeling, when they are by themselves, not necessarily when they are talking to that person. Equally, artists may have high-visual spatial intelligence. This is because they have a deep understanding of colours and shapes. However, they may not approach their art in a visual way. They may be a logical learner and use lists and systems to approach an art piece.

It is possible for a person’s main area of intelligence, to match up to the similar learning style. Therefore,  a visual learner may also show high visual-spatial intelligence. Nonetheless, this is not always the case and shouldn’t be assumed.

It is good to be aware of multiple intelligence theory and understand that your child may be good in some areas and may not be as strong in some others. However, this should not be confused with their learning style. An easy way to remember the difference is, learning style is how your child tackles a problem. Intelligence is what problems your child is already good at.