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What is the Relationship Between Intelligence and Learning?

August 14, 2019 | 5 Min Read

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What is intelligence, how important is intelligence for learning, and how can educators support the intelligence of their learners? (And what about AI?) Read this FAQ to find out.

What is Intelligence?

Although there is no single clinical or common definition of the word, intelligence can be thought of as an ability to find solutions to problems, often via a knowledge base or skill set. As the combination of genetic and environmental factors, the source or route to intelligence is often hotly disputed, especially given that conceptions of intelligence change over time and context

Today, intelligence is often described in terms of analytical and reasoning skills, which are an essential component to the success of many learners. However, there is no fundamental reason why other intelligences, such as language abilities or emotional awareness, shouldn’t be seen as an equally valid sign of intellectual prowess. 

Learning, on the other hand, can be thought of as a kind of mental or behavioural journey, with successful learning resulting in a reliable change or development of behaviour at the end of that journey.


How Many Types of Intelligence Are There?

Common sense tells us that there is no single way to approach a problem-solving situation. It’s also clear that different activities require different skills sets. These everyday observations are confirmed by the majority of academic studies on intelligence.

Although disputed, Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is a widely accepted model of the various kinds of intelligence displayed by learners - including abilities that often stray beyond the limits of a traditional I.Q. test. 

In recent times, the focus on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence, prioritized in the classroom, has been challenged by eLearning educational models. The use of an LMS in a blended learning curriculum can help support the development of other important intelligences, such as Interpersonal or Intrapersonal intelligence, benefits that showcase the effectiveness of blended learning (read our article on Why Blended Learning is Effective.)


What is the Role of Intelligence in Learning?

While the definitions of intelligence and learning are separable and can be discussed independently, the distinction between the two concepts becomes less clear when it comes to the actual activity of learning. Most studies on the relationship between intelligence and learning find little difference in measures of participant’s intelligence (such as an IQ test) and measures of their ability to learn. This suggests a strong correlation - or even an identity - between the two concepts.

All of which means that educators can benefit their learners by focusing on learning practices, or simply their student’s intellectual development. This is good news for LMS users, who have the ability to diversify their students’ learning through intellectually rewarding methods such as gamification or self-paced learning.

Find out more about gamification in this free on-demand webinar: 

Watch: Gamification 101 – What It Is and How to Get Started? 


Is Intelligent Learning the Same as Learning Intelligence?

Many LMS vendors use ambiguous phrases such as Intelligent Learning, Learning Intelligence, or an Intelligent Learning Environment (ILE). Learning Intelligence refers to an organization’s L&D innovations and capabilities. In other words, a company’s ability to define learning goals, understand learning needs and practices, and quantify learning results. Intelligent Learning is what happens when L&D departments, educators, and learners work together to get things right. When learning is optimized, learners are engaged in intelligent learning.

An Intelligent Learning Environment, on the other hand, is an educational method where learners are immersed in a problem-solving space or situation. For example, trainee pilots using a flight simulator. 


What about Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

A growing number of reports on AI and machine learning are emerging from academic institutions and industry, claiming breakthroughs in intelligent technology. Many view AI as the next revolution in computer science, heightening accuracy and efficiency while reducing costs and risks.

AI is also beginning to infiltrate eLearning, in the form of automation. Many LMS are capable of using automated procedures to adjust content to individual learner’s needs. By using the data bank of a student’s previously completed work, algorithms within an eLearning platform are able to adjust the content that a student sees the next time they login.


What is the Difference between Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning?

So, what is the difference between AI and machine learning? Artificial intelligence is a broad area of computer science, with the goal of developing computer systems that function in an independent way. Machine learning, on the other hand, is a narrower area that aims at developing self-learning systems. In this sense, some people categorize machine learning as a subset of AI. 

Deep Learning is an example of a specific type of machine learning, which uses algorithms inspired by the structure of real neural networks. Deep learning is a technique that teaches computers to learn by example, taking in data to develop solutions that are not designed by human engineers.


How can I Support My Learners as They Develop Intelligence?

Given the close relationship between intelligence and learning, educators should be looking to maximize learning opportunities for their students. Using an LMS is a great way to do this. A Learning Management System integrates technology, teaching, and study in one flexible platform, resulting in expanded possibilities for learners and educators alike. (For more information on LMS, read our blog, What is LMS?)

For a practical idea of how an LMS, automation, and proper organizational learning intelligence can produce results, take a look at these case study examples:

Download: Toyota Reduces Costs and Improves Training Effectiveness with Automated Reporting Solutions 

Whether you’re looking to increase learning intelligence with your Learning Management System, are looking to optimize your LMS and eLearning programs with learning analytics, or need any other eLearning solutions, we have the expertise to help you reach your goals. 

Contact us today. We’d love to help you create a better way to learn!

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Disclaimer: This article was contributed by guest blogger Joe Hitchcock. Joe is a content writer from Vancouver BC, interested in culture, education and fiction. The views and opinions expressed belong to the guest blogger alone, and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or opinions of Lambda Solutions.

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