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  • Writer's pictureKathy Miles

Intelligence and Training

Intelligence and Training

What is Intelligence?

There are a number of theories of intelligence, all identifying what intelligence is and what form it takes. Some of these include:

“The ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations” and “The ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria.” Merriam-Webster (1828).


“Intelligence is often equated with ‘being smart’ – that is, being able to act intelligently when dealing with everyday life. But there is another definition of intelligence that many adults have carried with them since their elementary school days: intelligence is a specific measurement of their ability to learn.” Merriam, S.B and Caffarella, R.S (1999).


“Intelligence appears to be composed of a number of different intellectual abilities such as verbal aptitude, number aptitude, spatial aptitude and inductive reasoning.” Burns (1995).

I believe the most important implication is that intelligence is in fact, made up of a large number of intellectual abilities.

Intelligence in the Workplace:

In today's workforce, many organisations are national or even global, which often leads to remote workers. These people work away from the main company premises which can often mean that they have reduced support, training and infrastructure.

Some of these sites may be geographically remote and have few employees. People on these sites may do the same tasks, day in and day out, working with the same people. It is highly likely that these employees may not have access to an environment which stimulates and challenges their intelligence, by requiring them to think outside the square.

This type of environment is not effective for actively increasing intellectual abilities or aiding in the transfer of knowledge between people.

Often one of the few times these people will be mentally stimulated is through the organisations training programs.

Implications for Training:

People need to be exposed to experiences that are going to develop them in a number of areas, such as:

  • Creatively;

  • Analytically;

  • Emotionally; and

  • Logically.

It is imperative for training programs to take this into account and involve learners in activities such as problem solving, simulations, verbal discussions and debates, creating new ways of doing things and implementing solutions in order to develop all aspects of a person’s intellectual ability.

One of the main things to remember when designing a learning program is to keep it interesting and stimulating. No one wants to sit in a room with a bunch of other people, listening to the sound of a trainer’s voice explaining how something should be done. Facilitating is about enabling self-directed learning through the use of real-life, activity-based scenarios that encourage learning and intelligence.

No matter the topic, there are ways to make it interesting, be it by brainstorming, mind-mapping, role-playing, getting participants to present to the class, guest speakers, game playing, quizzes, discussion or critical reflection. There are a vast number of ways for training to take into consideration the most effective ways that people learn, how knowledge is transferred and how to increase intelligence.

About PDI Solutions

PDI Solutions can work with organisations to develop and deliver training solutions tailored to your particular organisation around leadership, team building or any other professional development. Contact us today for a free consultation at or visit our website at

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