A cautionary tale

A colleague mentioned me in calling out a post that was touting a myth. Which is bad enough, but as I’ve done before, I looked deeper at the post, and found more problems. It’s worth breaking down the problems, both to sensitize you to the potential problems, and provide some guidance about what’s right. So here’s a cautionary tale.

First, the post was promoting Dale’s Cone (referred to in the post as the Learning Retention Pyramid). You’ve probably seen it, saying people retain X% if they listen to a lecture, Y% if they read, … all the way to Z% if they teach others. It’s been resoundingly debunked. It is made up, Dale never added numbers, etc. So, we’re starting off on the wrong foot.

The post points to an article by an organization. As I’m wont to do, I went to the article. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t any better. It talked about the importance of looking at retention practice. That is, designing for retention; a good thing. Along with a definition were nine strategies for promoting this desirable feature. Which is where we start to go wrong.

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