When we visit the doctor, we put our trust in their expertise and rely on them to keep at the top of their game. Imagine if, when you complained of suffering from migraines, your doctor recommended a series of bloodletting to relieve the pressure! Bloodletting was practised by the medical profession using a device (sometimes, using leeches) as recently as 1923! Fortunately, doctors no longer recommend this course of treatment because (unsurprisingly), they realised it didn’t work.
As a learning and development professional, our delegates put their development and skills in our hands; they trust that we have the current skills to help them learn and develop new skills. As with the medical profession, we have a duty to keep up to date, critique, analyse and act on evidence.
The stuff of myths and legend
It’s healthy to question, to never take things at face-value, especially when people rely on our advice and support. I like to do a fair amount of research. Does that make me a Theorist? Hmm, I thought I was more of a Reflector …but I also like to get stuck in and try things out; surely that means I’m an Activist… but… I need some real examples how this might work. Now I’m confused…that would make me a Pragmatist. Help! I have a split personality!
If you value your professional credibility, you will already be keeping up with current debates, thinking and theories. You may have even debated these yourself. Wouldn’t it be great if you could find some evidence one way or the other? But where do you start?
In his book, ‘Millennials, goldfish & other training misconceptions’, Clark Quinn gives you that start you might be looking for.
Clark Quinn looks at three categories:
- Learning myths (e.g. tailoring to learning styles etc)
- Learning superstitions (e.g. smile-sheets equals evaluation)
- Learning misconceptions (e.g. 70-20-10)
It’s a lovely, easy read and is meant as a starting point; it is packed full of citations and references should you wish to delve deeper into the evidence behind the counter arguments. I love that (there’s that ‘Theorist’ in me again ).
For each myth, Clark Quinn gives a brief description and its appeal. Then he sets out the pros, cons and suggestions on evaluating its validity. Finally, we are given a summary of what the evidence actually says followed by advice on what we should do.
Similarly, we read a brief description of each. Clark Quinn then sets out the rationale, why it doesn’t work and what do to instead.
We can easily misunderstand the purposes of certain practices. Here Clark Quinn gives us a counter argument against the brief description of a commonly held belief. He then helps us reconcile, before making suggestions on what we can do.
What I really love about this easy read is that he gives us a handy little summary section where the key points are set out in easy to read tables.
This is a must on your bookshelf. It’s a handy reference and is small enough to carry around with you without taking up too much space or add to the weight in your L&D kit-bag. Ideal for those moments when a debate is about start or you need a quick memory jogger.
This book has re-affirmed some of my own counter arguments for some learning theories and practices that just didn’t sit right with me; I’ve also had some myths and beliefs busted. I’m OK with that. What about you?