Multiple Intelligences for Design: A Brief Overview

Designing requires a wide range of thinking, knowledge, and skills that span the arts, humanities, and sciences. To clearly identify critical areas for learning in design, Dennis Cheatham synthesized a model of multiple intelligences for design based on the work of psychologists like Howard Gardner, Daniel Goleman, John D. Mayer, Peter Salovey, and Robert Sternberg. Below is a brief overview of these intelligences and how they apply to design.

Practical Intelligence

“Common Sense” or “Street Smarts”: Meet deadlines, follow procedures, adapt to workplace culture, and work within limitations.
Outcome: Learners will be able to apply design processes and produce outcomes within practical constraints.

Analytical Intelligence

Critical Thinking and Reason: Reason through problems, work iteratively, and make well-informed, logical decisions.
Outcome: Learners will be able to demonstrate relevant and accurate decision-making for needs being addressed.

Creative Intelligence

Synthesis and Invention: Generate new ideas and outcomes, integrate disparate content, and find hidden connections.
Outcome: Learners will be able to generate inventive and engaging outcomes.

Emotional Intelligence

Interpreting and Expressing Emotions: Accurately interpret and apply emotions in design work and personal interactions.
Outcome: Learners will be able to interpret and express appropriate emotions for the context accurately.

Social Intelligence

Critical Thinking and Reason: Collaborate in teams, work one-on-one with others, and facilitate consensus.
Outcome: Learners will be able to demonstrate an ability to engage and collaborate with others effectively.

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