How many times?

How many times do we have to call this stuff out?

Look at the image heading this post which appeared in my Twitter feed on Friday. It’s from a conference held last week where a ticket to attend costs just shy of £2k.

For that, people are getting an unattributed pie chart with unknown provenance and highly speculative data. Just look – 5% of what you learn comes post age 12. The audience are also getting a modified version of Dale’s Cone of Experience which has been widely debunked. Using the speaker’s own guidelines, wouldn’t it be ironic if these slides were the 5% that people remembered from the lectures attended?

The learning industry has responsibilities. If you’re in the industry as a provider, a practitioner, a consultant, an awarding body, a professional association, a technical supplier, a commentator, effectively in any role in learning, that means you. That means you’re responsible for validating information you rely on and share. That means you’re responsible for critically analysing data before sending it out and bringing it in. That means you’re responsible for making sure we’re working in an evidence-based way to support real-world problems.

This is what happens when we accept that legends in LnD – MBTI, learning styles, Mehrabian, Dale, etc. We argue its harder to ignore them and they’ll die. They spread. They get promoted and amplified. If I stand in dog mess you’d notice it if I walk into a room. If the next person walks in with dog mess on their shoe we notice it less. Eventually, when everyone brings dog mess into the room, you don’t notice it any more.

Challenge this stuff.

Call it out.

Speakers at events – I’m watching and will ask for the origins of your data.


2 thoughts on “How many times?

  1. Thanks for calling this out Andrew! I’m afraid to say that even the professional bodies in our field are guilty although things are starting to improve.

    Conference organisers have a duty of due diligence and are able to stamp this out when they discuss the session with the speakers. Hopefully they are doing that – aren’t they? Hmmm, I wonder.

    It also applies to speaker slides! I have been calling out the worst ones (eg just completely full of text that no-one can read or absorb) for a few years now but it takes more than a lone voice to effect change.

    Andrew perhaps we could use the Learning Now TV platform to start making ‘a noise’ about it? If you’re interested let me know.

    And thanks again for being the first to make a stand!


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