Effects of using presentation formats that accommodate the learner's multiple intelligences on the learning of freshman college chemistry concepts
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Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences identifies linguistic, spatial and logical-mathematical intelligences as necessary for learning in the physical sciences. He has identified nine intelligences which all persons possess to varying degrees, and says that learning is most effective when learners receive information in formats that correspond to their intelligence strengths. This research investigated the importance of the multiple intelligences of students in first-year college chemistry to the learning of chemistry concepts. At three pre-selected intervals during the first-semester course each participant received a tutorial on a chemistry topic, each time in a format corresponding to a different one of the three intelligences, just before the concept was introduced by the class lecturer. At the end of the experiment all subjects had experienced each of the three topics once and each format once, after which they were administered a validated instrument to measure their relative strengths in these three intelligences. The difference between a pre- and post-tutorial quiz administered on each occasion was used as a measure of learning. Most subjects were found to have similar strengths in the three intelligences and to benefit from the tutorials regardless of format. Where a difference in the extent of benefit occurred the difference was related to the chemistry concept. Data which indicate that students' preferences support these findings are also included and recommendations for extending this research to other intelligences are made.