3 myths about training

It is estimated that over 100 billion dollars are spent each year on training in the U.S. Considering the size of this investment, and the amount of research into training methodologies in the last half century, it’s amazing how persistent these 3 myths about training are.

  1. Training should be tailored to learning styles. This theory suggests that better learning outcomes occur when learners are grouped into the categories of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, and given instruction based on their dominant learning style. This is a myth. Research shows that “people are able to learn effectively using all three sensory modalities.” (Kratzig and Arbuthnott 2006, 241). Unfortunately, despite numerous studies debunking the learning styles approach, corporations and universities continue to utilize ineffective pop methodologies using teaching based on learning styles.
  2. Training that receives high ratings from trainees results in better learning. This is a myth. There is little correlation between trainee ratings and learning. While as trainers we all want to be liked and have our learners rate our training highly, high ratings are not a marker of superior learning.
  3. Games, stories, simulations, and _____ (fill in the blank) have superior learning outcomes. *Ruth Colvin Clark calls this the “The Yellow Brick Road Effect.” Though each of these methodologies may have a place as learning tools, there is just no silver bullet here. We are much too eager to jump on the flavor of the month in our training tactics. Beware of generalizing about the value of the latest and greatest popular training nostrum. We’ve yet to discover a specific technique that has proven effective in all training situtations.

* Ruth Colvin Clark is a renowned specialist in intstructional design and workforce learning. Some of the data supporting the three myths discussed in this blog comes from Colvin’s book, Evidence-Based Training Methods.

For a free review of your training initiatives call me today: Art Johnson 480 249-4128.

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