The concept of multiple intelligences is very important in education because it conceptualizes intelligence as a complex of many factors. Since other theories perceive intelligence as a single entity, it limits learning among learners with varying learning abilities and styles. Fundamentally, the concept of multiple intelligences recognizes that learners have diverse learning abilities and styles. Hence, instructors should customize their instructional activities to suit the diverse needs of learners. In the exposition of his concept, Howard Gardner postulates that human intelligence exists in nine categories, namely, “natural, logical, bodily, visual, verbal, interpersonal, intrapersonal, musical, and existential intelligence” (Foong, Sharrifidin, & Mislan, 2012, p. 205). These categories are intelligence that determines the level of knowledge and skills that humans possess.
Since multiple intelligences influence the learning process among learners, they are applicable in online learning. In the aspect of verbal intelligence, the concept of multiple intelligences implies that online education should employ verbal techniques as a way of enhancing learning among students, who prefer the verbal style of learning. Hajhashemi, Akef, and Anderson (2012) assert that verbal intelligence is important in online learning because it enables students to develop verbal skills and communicate effectively with other students. In this view, online education should incorporate audio lectures as part of their course materials so that learners can acquire verbal intelligence. Furthermore, musical intelligence relates to verbal intelligence. Online learners require musical intelligence so that they can understand how to make rhythms, sounds, and tones in a musical manner. Hence, the audio lectures should entail some musical or rhythmical tones, which appeal to online learners.
Visual intelligence is another type of intelligence that Howard Gardner stresses in his concept of multiple intelligences. Since some learners exhibit visual learning styles, the use of videos, graphics, and gestures is imperative in online education. Institutions that provide online education should consider designing course materials that have visual aids. Moreover, instructors should use gestures and demonstrations in the classroom so that students, who learn visually, can get the opportunity to optimize their learning styles and perform well. Sadeghi (2008) argues that the eligibility of reading materials is a factor that online education should consider because learners have different capacities of sight. The font and color of words in reading materials should be legible and appealing to visual learners. In this view, the concept of multiple intelligences recognizes the existence of visual learners and thus advocates for their needs in online education. Essentially, online education should gather for the needs of students, who learn visually because visual intelligence plays a significant role in learning.
In online learning, social presence is an issue that affects the interaction between learners and instructors in online education. The concept of multiple intelligences points out that intrapersonal intelligence and interpersonal intelligence are essential in learning. Thus, learning institutions that offer online education and their instructors are striving to improve social presence as a way of meeting interpersonal intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence among learners. Social interaction between learners and instructors is crucial because it promotes learning. Improvement of social presence entails enhancement of social interaction during learning as a way of promoting cohesive, effective, and cohesive responses among learners (Borup, West, & Graham, 2012). Hence, the concept of multiple intelligences is applicable in online education.
Borup, J., West, E., & Graham, R. (2012). Improving online social presence through asynchronous video. Internet & Higher Education, 15(3), 195-203.
Foong, L., Sharrifidin, R., & Mislan, N. (2012). Pattern and relationship between multiple intelligences, personality traits and critical thinking skills among high achievers in Malaysia. International Proceedings of Economics Development and Research, 27(1), 205-209.
Gilakjani, A. (2012). Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic Learning Styles and Their Impacts on English Language Teaching. Journal of Studies in Education, 2(1), 104-113.
Hajhashemi, K., Akef, K., & Anderson, N. (2012). The relationship between multiple intelligences and reading proficiency of Iranian EFL students. World Applied Sciences Journal, 19(10), 1475-1483.
Riazi, A., & Riasati, M. J. (2007). Language learning style preference: A students’ case study of Shiraz EFL Institutes. Asian EFL Journal, 9(1), 6-7.
Sabo, R., Shingles, R., Lopes, J., Toner, J., Naeve-velguth, S., & Woods, S. (2012). Using online instruments to assess learning styles of health professionals: A pilot study. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, 10(2), 1-8.
Sadeghi, K. (2008). The Key for Successful Reader-writer Interaction: Factors Affecting Reading Comprehension in L2 Revisited. The Iranian EFL Journal Quarterly, 1(2), 121-145.
Yuste, R, Alonso, L, & Blazquez, F. (2012). Synchronous virtual environment for e-assessment in higher education. Scientific Journal of Media Education, 39(20), 159-167.