Sternbergs definition of analytical or componential intelligence includes using higher-order thinking processes to obtain and retain knowledge. The creative or experiential component involves the ability to synthesize information and make connections. Finally, the practical or contextual aspect of intelligence involves using the information in the real world. He warns that many so-called intelligent people fail because they are unmotivated, they are unable to persevere, or they cannot control their impulses or desires for immediate gratification. He claims that the only authentic measure of intelligence is practical success.
In the context of adult education, adults must be able to utilize all of these components to be successful at a learning task. They must be able to not only obtain knowledge, but retain the information that they have learned. This often involves the use of higher-order thinking skills such as questioning, analysis and evaluation. They must be able to connect the information they are learning to real-life experiences, form evaluations, infer and draw conclusions.
Finally, they need to be able to use the information in the real world. The last aspect is perhaps the most important. In The Adult Learner, Lindeman (1926) states that “Adults orientation to learning is life-centered; therefore, the appropriate units for organizing adult learning are life situations, not subjects.”
Knowles, M., Holton, E. & Swanson, R. (2005). The Adult Learner (6th ed.). Burlington, MA: Elsevier. Retrieved April 25, 2010 from http://books.google.com/books?id=J6qGsHBj7nQC&pg=PR1&dq=The+adult+learner+6th&cd=1#v=onepage&q=The%20adult%20learner%206th&f=true
Livingston, J. (2003). Metacognition: An Overview. Retrieved April 25, 2010 from http://www.julianhermida.com/metacognition.pdf
Sternbergs Triarchic Theory of Intelligence. (2004). Retrieved April 25, 2010 from http://wilderdom.com/personality/L2-2SternbergTriarchicTheory.html#Overview
Wirth, K. & Perkins, D. (2008, September). Learning to Learn. Retrieved April 25, 2010 from http://www.macalester.edu/geology/wirth/learning.pdf.