Learning Preferences and Multiple Intelligences: An Observational Study in Brazilian Studies
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ABSTRACT In recent years, Multiple Intelligences (MI – bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, intrapersonal, interpersonal, linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, and naturalist) and Learning Preferences (LP – visual, aural, read/write, kinesthetic, and multimodal) have been intensely studied throughout the world. In this context, plenty of tools that evaluate such parameters have been created and later improved over the past decades. Nowadays, the necessity for optimal learning strategies and more individualized teaching continues to rise, reinforcing the importance of identifying individual strengths and cognitive preferences. Objectives to analyze the distribution of MI – and how they influence one another – and LP in medical students at the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), Brazil. The results could lead to improvements in the educational setting. Methods a descriptive cross-sectional study involving UFPR medical students of all 12 semesters, who were analyzed through questionnaires with regard to both their MI (“Multiple Intelligences Checklist for Students”) and LP (“Visual, Aural, Read/Write, Kinesthetic – VARK – Questionnaire”). Results a total of 1054 questionnaires were processed (527 students). Intrapersonal (71 ± 10.5), logical-mathematical (69.3 ± 14), and linguistic (68.4 ± 11.8) intelligences predominated, whereas naturalist achieved the lowest mean score (47.3 ± 19.5). Positive correlations were identified between all of the MI. Regarding the LP, the multimodal (42.3%) was the most frequent, followed by visual (21.3%), aural (18.6%), kinesthetic (11.2%), and read/write (6.6%). When both cognitive theories were correlated, the following associations prevailed: visual LP and intrapersonal intelligence; aural LP and interpersonal intelligence; read/write LP and logical-mathematical intelligence; kinesthetic LP and logical-mathematical intelligence; and multimodal preference and intrapersonal intelligence. Conclusions intrapersonal intelligence achieved the highest overall scores, followed by logical-mathematical and linguistic. Naturalist intelligence achieved the lowest scores in terms of semester, cycle, and overall analysis. All MI were positively correlated. Multimodality was the most commonly observed LP, whereas the read/write preference was the least frequent. Correlations initially expected between MI and LP were confirmed. As for future perspectives, it is expected that teachers and education managers adapt current teaching strategies in order to meet the students’ preferences. Together, MI and LP indicate that the focus should not rely on how smart a given person is, but in which ways.