Excellent New Book Debunking Learning and Education Myths


There’s too much crap floating around the learning and education fields; too many myths, misconceptions, and maladaptive learning designs. I started The Debunker Club and have been working to debunk myths for many years, so I’m passionate about the need for more debunking. The need is great and the danger to learning and learners is dire.

Fortunately, entering the world is a great new book by three researchers, Pedro De Bruyckere, Paul A. Kirschner, and Casper D. Hulshof. Their book is titled, Urban Myths about Learning and Education, and it’s jam packed with a list of 35 myths that plague our field.

You can buy it through Amazon by clicking the image below.

The book is sure to have a major impact in the education and training fields.

Partial List of Topics

Here is a list of the SOME of the myths they debunk*:

  • Learning styles
  • The bastardized version of Dale’s Cone
  • 70, 20, 10
  • No need for knowledge if we can look everything up
  • Discovery learning is best
  • Problem-based learning
  • School kills creativity
  • 93% of communication is non-verbal
  • We use only 10% of our brains
  • You can train your brain with brain games
  • We think most clearly when we’re under pressure
  • Neuroscience provides helpful recommendations
  • New technology is causing a revolution in education
  • The internet belongs on the classroom
  • The internet makes us dumber
  • Class size doesn’t matter

*Note that “debunk” doesn’t necessarily mean to rule out completely! Often the authors find supporting evidence for some of the claims, or partial evidence, or they highlight boundary conditions.

Quotes from the Book

To give you a sense of the book, here are some quotes:

On Learning Styles:

“Though appealing, no solid evidence exists showing that there is any benefit in adapting and designing education and instruction to these so-called styles. It may even  e the case that in doing so, administrators, teachers, parents and even learners are negatively influencing the learning process and the products of education and instruction.”


On the Too-Ready Belief in Neuroscience:

“In practice, at the moment it is only the insights of cognitive psychology [not neuropsychology] that can be effectively used in education, but even here care needs to be taken. Neurology has the potential to add value to education, but in general there are only two real conclusions we can make at present:

– For the time being, we do not really understand all that much about the brain.
– More importantly, it is difficult to generalize what we do know into a set of concrete precepts of behavior, never mind devise methods for influencing that behavior.”


On the 70-20-10 Rule

“Informal learning is certainly very important, but we could find no evidence in the scientific literature to support the ratio of 70% information learning, 20% learning from others, and 10% formal learning.”


On Problem-Based Learning

“The use of problem-based learning to learn new content does not have a positive learning effect. But there is a positive learning effect if you use problem-based learning to further explore and remember something that the learner already knows.”


On Class Size

“Some studies show that smaller classes are not necessarily better, but that is just a part of the story. The quality of the teachers seems to be more important than class size, but other studies do suggest that smaller classes also seem to have performed better.”

Strengths of the Book

  • After each of the 35 myths, the authors write a short conclusion that very clearly and succinctly sums up their findings. This is very helpful.
  • The 35 myths are almost all very well known and important issues that need a research-based commentary.
  • The authors appear to have done their homework in researching the topics in the book. Certainly in the areas of research that I know best, their findings are consistent with my reading of the research.
  • The authors weigh complicated evidence in a manner that is fair and thoughtful.

Weaknesses of the Book

  • While the authors have designed the book specifically to reach practitioners (teachers, trainers, instructional designers, professors, and other learning professionals), they too often fall into the trap of using research jargon, which will make it difficult for some of their intended audience to fully comprehend some of the finer points of the book.

To Buy the Book, or Not?

Absolutely! Buy the book now! Occasionally, you might have some trouble with the jargon, but the most important messages will come through loud and clear.

This is a great book to peruse in short bursts. Each myth has its own chapter, which can be quickly read and deciphered. A great book to keep on your desk, in the bathroom, or on your cell phone. I’m loving it on my phone’s Kindle reader.

You can buy it on Amazon right now.