The Debunker Club sponsored -- as an experiment -- an April Fool's Week in 2015 with the idea of taking aim at one of the most ubiquitous pieces of information in the learning field--the bogus percent-remembering numbers and the corruptions of Dale's Cone.
During the first week in April, 2015, we attempted to rally members of The Debunker Club, and members of the public, to seek examples of the false information and inform the conveyors of that information that they are polluting the field with bad information.
April 7th, 2015:
For reasons we are investigating, the April-Fool's-Week experiment did not energize much debunking activity. We are looking into "lessons learned" and will generate additional efforts to help squash debilitating learning myths and misinformation in the future.
If you were a member of the Debunker Club during the first week of April 2015, please complete our "lessons learned" survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WFHSQ2M
If you'd like to post your debunking efforts, you may do that by going to our Sightings Page.
Previous Instructions (April Fool's Week is Now Concluded)
Let me start off with a personal confession. Part of me -- the adolescent boy I once was -- would like to completely embarrass and shame people who are propagating bad information. WE MUST RESIST this juicy temptation. Why? Because assholes rarely persuade!
April Fool's Week is designed to highlight specific instances of bad information -- but also to shine a spotlight on the need for skepticism in our field.
To this end, here are our instructions:
- Seek out examples of bad information as it relates to the meme that "people remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, etc." (or similar versions) AND concomitant bastardized versions of Dale's Cone of Experience (the one's with the percentages added!).
- You can review validated information about these issues at the following websites:
- The information you're presenting, though it may appear to have scientific support, has been exhaustively researched and found to have no basis in science.
- A journal article from the scientific journal Educational Technology details the research that shows there is no research backing for the information. (Subramony, D., Molenda, M., Betrus, A., and Thalheimer, W. (2014). The Mythical Retention Chart and the Corruption of Dale’s Cone of Experience. Educational Technology, Nov/Dec 2014, 54(6), 6-16.)
- You can read a review of the article here: http://www.willatworklearning.com/2015/01/mythical-retention-data-the-corrupted-cone.html
- You can also read about these issues here: http://www.coneofexperience.com
- The information presented is likely to produce more harm than good, promoting poor learning designs and hurting learners.
- While learning professionals might abstract some beneficial notions from the percentages portrayed in the misleading information -- namely that encouraging realistic practice has benefits -- there are numerous faulty concepts within the bogus percentages that can do real harm.
- By having people think that there are benefits to seeing over hearing, or hearing over reading, we are sending completely wrong messages about how learning works.
- By having people think that "collaborating, discussing, saying (etc.)" are useful learning constructs, we distort and confuse what is really important.
- Most importantly, recent advances in learning science have really come together over the last two decades. The misleading information was first reported in 1914, with no research backing. It is better to follow the more recent findings than information that has no scientific basis.
- See for example, the book Make it Stick...by Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel.
- Let them know that you are representing a larger community of folks who are attempting to encourage the use of proven, scientifically-based learning factors in the learning field.
- Provide them the website of The Debunker Club
- Let them know you'll be posting about their misleading information, send them the link to your post (or the webpage where it's located), and ask them to comment and respond to your post if they wish, because you (and the debunker community in general) want to learn how other people feel about the issues and ideas surrounding the original information and the debunking work as well.
- Look for the benefits the purveyor sees in the information they've presented.
- Look for perspectives that you (or we) might not have considered.
- Look for insights or research-needs that research has yet to uncover.