EDU605: A combination of learning styles and theories: 4MAT, Gardeners Theory and Blooms Taxonomy

My Association of Bernice McCarthy’s 4MAT System


Different types of learners

The 4MAT system “…explains learning in terms of the ways people perceive and process information…While all learners engage in all types of learning, most seem to favor one particular type” (About Learning, n.d., p. 2 & 4). This connects to Gardener’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences because the type of learning a person prefers, usually indicates which intelligence(s) they are best at and like to use.

The 4Mat Model of Instructional Design emphasizes the importance of experiencing one’s own learning. (McCarthy, 2010) Much like Gardner’s Theory where students learn best by using their own strengthened techniques and skills. “We must continue the challenging task of thinking about the individual mind within the context of human relationships” (McCarthy, 2010).

Step 2 of the 4Mat model is the attend process where teachers, “encourage learners to share their perceptions and beliefs and to establish a positive attitude toward the diversity of different experiences” (McCarthy, 2010). When looking at both Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences SNF the 4Mat model, students and teachers can learn from one another. Although students learn in different wasys, shapes and forms, they can collaborate with one another to strengthen their skills and techniques.

As I think about my students, I would like to ask one question to other teachers. How can I incorporate all of the diverse learning styles into one cookie cutter lesson plan and still have fun in the teaching and learning process?

Those who are type one learners prefer to work with their classmates to understand new material. They use their interpersonal intelligence often, in order to get along with those they are working with.

Those who are type two learners prefer to hear new information be presented, to comprehend it. They use their linguistic intelligence often, in order to listen to the lectures their teacher provides and stories they read.

Those who are type three learners prefer to use what they are taught, to understand it. They use their bodily kinesthetic intelligence often, in order to complete hands-on activities to construct meaning from them.

Those who are type four learners prefer to explore and experiment what they are taught, to comprehend it. They use their naturalist intelligence often, to observe changes occurring in their environment as well as materials their working with.

Gardener’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences

This theory is important for educators to use, when planning and implementing instruction. It ensures each student can use the intelligence(s) they are strongest in, to understand and apply the material taught.

Developed by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner in 1983 and subsequently refined, this theory states there are at least seven ways (“intelligences”) that people understand and perceive the world. These intelligences may not be exhaustive. Gardner lists the following:


The ability to use spoken or written words.


Inductive and deductive thinking and reasoning abilities, logic, as well as the use of numbers and abstract pattern recognition.


The ability to mentally visualize objects and spatial dimensions.


The wisdom of the body and the ability to control physical motion.


The ability to master music as well as rhythms, tones and beats.


The ability to communicate effectively with other people and to be able to develop relationships.


The ability to understand one’s own emotions, motivations, inner states of being, and self-reflection.

I use Gardener’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences in my in the Army. It helps me to incorporate activities that support the intelligence(s) the students use to demonstrate what they learned. In the Army, students learn in cycles. The learning cycle that is utilized in the Army is the crawl-walk-run method. There have been instances where we have students share ideas and we used family as a topic of discussion.  Whos is in their immediate family. I asked them to develop and create a slide show of their family members.

There were students who preferred to use their linguistic and bodily kinesthetic intelligences who drew pictures of their family or created a collage of them and identified who each person was. there were students who preferred to use their linguistic and logical mathematical intelligences named and counted the people the picture of their family. then there were students who preferred to use interpersonal intelligence worked with their parents or siblings to make a replica of their family, such as a diorama. There were also students who preferred to use their musical rhythmic intelligence made their own song by playing an instrument. Then there were those who preferred to use their bodily kinesthetic intelligence used different shapes of colored paper to create a picture or collage.


Blooms Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy was created in 1956 under the leadership of educational psychologist Dr. Benjamin Bloom in order to promote higher forms of thinking in education, such as analyzing and evaluating concepts, processes, procedures, and principles, rather than just remembering facts (rote learning). It is most often used when designing educational, training, and learning processes.

I like to incorporate Blooms Taxonomy every time I plan a lesson. In fact it is required that we include Bloom’s keywords in our planning. I feel like Bloom’s Taxonomy makes us think beyond worksheets. Atherton (2013) states, “As well as providing a basic sequential model for dealing with topics in the curriculum, it also suggests a way of categorizing levels of learning, in terms of the expected ceiling for a given program.” Bloom’s creates ways of categorizing learning and what is expected in each group.

The most important idea I’ve found is, “Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy isn’t about the tools or technologies rather it is about using these to facilitate learning” (Anderson, 2001). Bloom’s is a great tool to use to let students knowledge expand and experiment with learning. It requires them to apply their learning instead of repeat it back to their teacher.

This theory relates to the 4mat model in that the 4mat models requires experience, conceptualization, action and reflection (McCarthy, 2010). Bloom’s also requires action, conceptualization and reflection. Students then use their experience to guide their learning. Bloom’s uses “action” words such as analyze, synthesis and creating. These activities are similar to those required by the 4mat. These two ideas are both driven for student success.

I personally like using the Bloom’s flip guides when creating lessons. It is a quick flip chart that allows me to choose the proper challenging, but appropriate, learning activities that will enhance learning. I find it helps challenge students, but really it helps with understanding and application of an idea.



Anderson, L.W., and D. Krathwohl (Eds.) (2001). A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching and Assessing: a Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Longman, New York.

McCarthy, B. PhD. (2010). Refining the performance: step 2 of the 4Mar Cycle.Retrieved from on June 25, 2016.

Atherton J S (2013) Learning and Teaching; Bloom’s taxonomy [On-line: UK] retrieved 26 May 2015 from

Introduction to 4MAT by Bernice McCarthy [Motion picture]. (2010).

Northern Illinois University. (n.d.). Howard gardener’s theory of multiple intelligences. Retrieved from

Tomlinson, C.A. (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

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