You’ve probably seen—or heard—this meme about learning. It is a text-based version of Edgar Dale’s “Cone of Learning,” sometimes referred to as his “Cone of Instruction.” The question for you, dear reader, is: Do you believe it? In total? Sort of? You might even be nodding your head as you read. What’s that? It makes intuitive sense to you, but you’re not going to sweat the exact percentages? Fair enough, but please keep reading, though you may only remember 10% of this later.
- Dale himself acknowledged the numbers were not based on empirical data.
- If you obtain(ed) a master’s degree in either Training and Development or Organization Development from Roosevelt University, and you use this meme in presentations, please stop doing so.
You’ve also probably seen—or heard—about ‘Learning Styles.’ Supposedly, each of us has a specific modality by which we not only prefer to learn, but learn best by. Ah, another day, another meme. There is no credible evidence to support that anyone learns best by a particular modality REGARDLESS of the subject matter.
Let’s get back on track. Suppose you insist that you are indeed an Auditory Learner. You have personal proof of this this, which you are only too happy to share. Fair enough, but please keep reading.
The question I pose is: Can you believe both of these memes at the same time? That is, we remember 20% of what we hear, but auditory learners will remember 75% of what they hear in a lecture? Maybe the first meme is general, but if we control for learning style, we have to…..??????
The truth, Dear Reader, is that there is no “there” there (shout-out to Gertrude Stein) for either of these memes. Believing both of them at the same time can be delicately described as “problematic.”
- What other generalized beliefs/memes are there about learning or instruction that you have come across?
- What other generalized beliefs/memes are there about organization development that you have comes across?
- What about leadership?