In 1983, psychologist Howard Gardner published Frames of Mind, a book which presented his theory of multiple intelligences. Gardner asserted that people possess multiple types of intelligence and can learn through these various modalities. Many educators now focus on presenting materials so that they will be accessible to learners with a variety of the intelligences listed below.

The following eight intelligences are the most commonly accepted, but they are not necessarily an exhaustive list:

  • Linguistic Intelligence
  • Logical/Mathematical Intelligence
  • Musical Rhythmic Intelligence
  • Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence
  • Spatial Intelligence
  • Naturalist Intelligence
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence
  • Interpersonal Intelligence


The application of the theory of multiple intelligences in regular, large, online, or hybrid enrollment courses is aimed primarily at presenting materials and interaction with materials in a variety of methods in order to reach as many learners as possible. Although it is difficult to reach all of the learning styles, changing lecture and project formats will aid in reaching multiple learning styles.

Some of the ways that the theory of multiple intelligences can be utilized in the development and implementation of a course include the following:

  • Provide lecture and course materials in a variety of formats.
  • Give students the opportunity to create projects and presentations based on their own interests.
  • Provide opportunities for students to collaborate with one another as well as work independently.
  • Provide opportunities for students to integrate their interests into the course. For example, utilize discussion boards, current news and events, or learning portfolios.
  • Provide opportunities for students to physically interact with course content and materials (e.g., use interactive polling during live course lectures, utilize real or virtual labs)
  • Add an interdisciplinary element to a unit or activity that encourages students to present materials in an alternative method (e.g., song lyrics, dance, presentation, visual display, etc.).
  • Offer students a variety of presentation options for projects.
  • Allow students to apply multiple intelligences in the construction and presentation of group projects.
  • Provide course materials in a variety of formats (e.g., visual presentations, audio or video based lectures, readings, collaborative activities, discussions, etc.).
  • Ask students to interact with their environment, attend a performance, or interview a peer or community member, and then share their experiences through images, video, and/or social media.

References and Additional Resources

Further Exploration