Happened to notice these two statements printed in vendor literature at a recent conference. I’ve obscured their names just enough so I’m not obviously picking on them but they will know who they are.

Statement #1 from vendor named “C*g*i*o”

  • “We all know that up to 80% of what learners are taught in training will be lost in 30 days if there is no practice or reinforcement.”

Statement #2: from vendor named “A*ea*”

  • “We have known for more than 150 years that humans forget up to 70% of what they learn within 24 hours!”

These statements are false and misleading. To get a more accurate view of human forgetting, check out this well-researched document.

The Sad Reality of Faux or Misleading Research Citations in Vendor Literature

Buyer beware! Vendors are now utilizing confirmatory-bias methodologies to sprinkle their verbal and visual communications with research-sounding sound bites. Because we are human, this persuasion technique is likely to snare us.

We may even buy a product or service that doesn’t work.

My recommendation: Spend $500 on a research-to-practice expert to save yourself tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, euros, pounds, etc.



You won’t believe what a vendor said about a speaker at a conference—when that speaker spoke the truth.


Conferences are big business in the workplace learning field.

Conferences make organizers a ton of money. That’s great because pulling off a good conference is not as easy as it looks. In addition to finding a venue and attracting people to come to your event, you also have to find speakers. Some speakers are well-known quantities, but others are unknown.

In the learning field, where we are inundated with fads, myths, and misconceptions; finding speakers who will convey the most helpful messages, and avoid harmful messages, is particularly difficult. Ideally, as attendees, we’d like to hear truth from our speakers rather than fluff and falsehoods.

On the other hand, vendors pay big money to exhibit their products and services at a conference. Their goal is connecting with attendees who are buyers or who can influence buyers. Even conferences that don’t have exhibit halls usually get money from vendors in one way or another.

So, conference owners have two groups of customers to keep happy: attendees and vendors. In an ideal world, both groups would want the most helpful messages to be conveyed. Truth would be a common goal. So for example, let’s say new research is done that shows that freep learning is better than traditional elearning. A speaker at a conference shares the news that freep learning is great. Vendors in the audience hear the news. What will they do?

  • Vendor A hires a handsome and brilliant research practitioner to verify the power of freep learning with the idea of moving forward quickly and providing this powerful new tool to their customers.
  • Vendor B jumps right in and starts building freep learning to ensure their customers get the benefits of this powerful new learning method.
  • Vendor C pulls the conference organizers aside and tells them, “If you ever use that speaker again, we will not be back; you will not get our money any more.”

Impossible you say!

Would never happen you think!

You’re right. Not enough vendors are hiring fadingly-good-lookingly brilliant research-to-practice experts!

Here’s a true story from a conference that took place within the last year or so.

Clark Quinn spoke about learning myths and misconceptions during his session, describing the findings from his wonderful book. Later when he read his conference evaluations he found the following comment among the more admiring testimonials:

“Not cool to debunk some tools that exhibitors pay a lot of money to sell at [this conference] only to hear from a presenter at the conference that in his opinion should be debunked. Why would I want to be an exhibitor at a conference that debunks my products? I will not exhibit again if this speaker speaks at [conference name]” (emphasis added).

This story was recounted by Clark and captured by Jane Bozarth in an article on the myth of learning styles she wrote as the head of research for the eLearning Guild. Note that the conference in question was NOT an eLearning Guild conference.

What can we do?

Corruption is everywhere. Buyer beware! As adults, we know this! We know politicians lie (some more than others!!). We know that we have to take steps not to be ripped off. We get three estimates when we need a new roof. We ask for personal references. We look at the video replay. We read TripAdvisor reviews. We look for iron-clad guarantees that we can return products we purchased.

We don’t get flustered or worried, we take precautions. In the learning field, you can do the following:

  • Look for conference organizers who regularly include research-based sessions (scientific research NOT opinion research).
  • Look for the conferences that host the great research-to-practice gurus. People like Patti Shank, Julie Dirksen, Clark Quinn, Mirjam Neelen, Ruth Clark, Karl Kapp, Jane Bozarth, Dick Clark, Paul Kirschner, and others.
  • Look for conferences that do NOT have sessions—or have fewer sessions—that propagate common myths and misinformation (learning styles, the learning pyramid, MBTI, DISC, millennials learn differently, people only use 10% of their brains, only 10% of learning transfers, neuroscience as a panacea, people have the attention span of a goldfish, etc.).
  • If you want to look into Will’s Forbidden Future, you might look for the following:
    • conferences and/or trade organizations that have hired a content trustee, someone with a research background to promote valid information and cull bad information.
    • conferences that point speakers to a list of learning myths to avoid.
    • conferences that evaluate sessions based on the quality of the content.

Being exposed to false information isn’t just bad for us as professionals. It’s also bad for our organizations. Think of all the wasted effort—the toil, the time, the money—that was flushed down the toilet trying to redesign all our learning to meet the so-called learning-styles approach. Egads! If you need to persuade your management about the danger of learning myths you might try this.

In a previous blog post, I talked about what we can do as attendees of conferences to avoid learning bad information. That’s good reading as well. Check it out here.

Who Will Rule Our Conferences? Truth or Bad-Faith Vendors?

That’s a damn good question!



Conferences can be beautiful things—helping us learn, building relationships that help us grow and bring us joy, prompting us to see patterns in our industry we might miss otherwise, helping us set our agenda for what we need to learn more fully.


Conferences can be ugly things—teaching us myths, reinforcing our misconceptions, connecting us to people who steer us toward misinformation, echo chambers of bad thinking, a vendor-infested shark tank that can lead us to buy stuff that’s not that helpful or is actually harmful, pushing us to set our learning agenda on topics that distract us from what’s really important.

Given this dual reality, your job as a conference attendee is to be smart and skeptical, and work to validate your learning. In the Training Maximizers model, the first goal is ensuring our learning interventions are built from a base of “valid, credible content.” In conferences, where we curate our own learning, we have to be sure we are imbibing the good stuff and avoiding the poison. Here, I’ll highlight a few things to keep in mind as you attend a conference. I’ll aim to make this especially relevant for this year, 2018, when you are likely to encounter certain memes and themes.

Drinking the Good Stuff

  • Look for speakers who have a background doing two things, (1) studying the scientific research (not opinion research), and (2) working with real-world learning professionals in implementing research-based practices.
  • If speakers make statements without evidence, ask for the evidence or the research—or be highly skeptical.
  • If things seem almost too good to be true, warn yourself that learning is complicated and there are no magic solutions.
  • Be careful not to get sucked into group-think. Just because others seem to like something, doesn’t necessarily make it good. Think for yourself.
  • Remember that correlation does not mean causation. Just because some factors seem to move in the same direction doesn’t mean that one caused the other. It could be the other way around. Or some third factor may have caused both to move in the same direction.

Prepare Yourself for This Year’s Shiny Objects

  • Learning Styles — Learning Styles is bogus, but it keeps coming up every year. Don’t buy into it. Learn about it first. The Debunker.Club has a nice post on why we should avoid learning styles. Read it. And don’t let people tell you that learning styles if bad but learning preferences is good. They’re pulling the wool.
  • Dale’s Cone with Percentages — People do NOT remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they read, 30% of what they see (or anything similar). Here’s the Internet’s #1 URL debunking this silly myth.
  • Neuroscience and Learning — It’s a very hot topic with vendors touting neuroscience to entice you to be impressed. But neuroscience at this time has nothing to say about learning.
  • Microlearning — Because it’s a hot topic, vendors and consultants are yapping about microlearning endlessly. But microlearning is not a thing. It’s many things. Here’s the definitive definition of microlearning, if I must say so myself.
  • AI, Machine Learning, and Big Data — Sexy stuff certainly, but it’s not clear whether these things can be applied to learning, or whether they can be applied now (given the state of our knowledge). Beware of taking these claims too seriously. Be open, but skeptical.
  • Gamification — We are almost over this fad thankfully. Still, keep in mind that gamification, like microlearning, is comprised of multiple learning methods. Gamification is NOT a thing.
  • Personalization — Personalization is a great idea, if carried out properly. Be careful if what someone calls personalization is just another way of saying learning styles. Also, don’t buy into the idea that personalization is new. It’s quite old. See Skinner and Keller back in the early 1900’s.
  • Learning Analytics — There is a lot of movement in learning evaluation, but much of it is wrong-headed focus on pretty dashboards, and a focus only on business impact. Look for folks who are talking about how to get better feedback to make learning better. I’ll tout my own effort to develop a new approach to gathering learner feedback. But beware and do NOT just do smile sheets (said by the guy who wrote a book on smile sheets)! Beware of vendors telling you to focus only on measuring behavior and business results. Read why here.
  • Kirkpatrick-Katzell Four-Level Model of Evaluation — Always a constant in the workplace learning field for the past 60 years. But even with recent changes it still has too many problems to be worthwhile. See the new Learning-Transfer Evaluation Model (LTEM), a worthy replacement.

Wow! So much to be worried about.

Well, sorry to say, I surely missing some stuff. It’s up to you to be smart and skeptical at the same time you stay open to new ideas.

You might consider joining the Debunker Club, folks who have agreed on the importance of debunking myths in the learning field.

Neuroscience and Learning

The Debunker Club, formed to fight myths and misconceptions in the learning field, is currently seeking public comment on the possibility that so-called neuroscience-based recommendations for learning and education are premature, untenable, or invalid.


Click here to comment or review the public comments made so far…


Click here to join The Debunker Club…


A year and a half ago, three esteemed researchers (and me) published a series of articles debunking the meme that people remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, and 30% of what they read, etc…

Here was my review of those research articles.

Unfortunately, until now, the articles themselves were not available online. To subscribe to the originating journal, Educational Technology, click here.

Now, we the authors are able to share a copy with you.


Click here to get a copy of the four articles…

John Medina, author of Brain Rules, and Development Molecular Biologist at University of Washington/ Seattle Pacific University, was today’s keynote speaker at PCMA’s Education Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

He did a great job in the keynote, well organized and with oodles of humor, but what struck me was that even though the guy is a real neuroscientist, he is very clear in stating the limitations of our understanding of the brain. Here are some direct quotes from his keynote, as I recorded them in my notes:

“I don’t think brain science has anything to say for business practice.”

“We still don’t really know how the brain works.”

“The state of our knowledge [of the brain] is childlike.”

“The human brain was not built to learn. It was built to survive.”

Very refreshing! Especially in an era where conference sessions, white papers, and trade-industry publications are oozing with brain science bromides, neuroscience snake oil, and unrepentant con artists who, in the interest of taking money from fools, corral the sheep of the learning profession into all manner of poor purchasing decisions.

The Debunker Club is working on a resource page to combat the learning myth, “Neuroscience (Brain Science) Trumps Other Sources of Knowledge about Learning,” and John Medina gives us more ammunition against the silliness.

In addition to John’s keynote, I enjoyed eating lunch with him. He’s a fascinating man, wicked knowledgeable about a range of topics, funny, and kind to all (as I found out as he developed a deep repartee with the guy who served our food). Thanks John for a great time at lunch!

One of the topics we talked about was the poor record researchers have in getting their wisdom shared with real citizens. John believes researchers, who often get research funding from taxpayer money, have a moral obligation to share what they’ve learned with the public.

I shared my belief that one of the problems is that there is no funding stream for research translators. The academy often frowns on professors who attempt to share their knowledge with lay audiences. Calls of “selling out” are rampant. You can read my full thoughts on the need for research translators at a blog post I wrote early this year.

Later in the day at the conference, John was interviewed in a session by Adrian Segar, an expert on conference and meeting design. Again, John shined as a deep and thoughtful thinker — and refreshingly, as I guy who is more than willing to admit when he doesn’t know and/or when the science is not clear.

To check out or buy the latest version of Brain Rules, click on the image below:





I've been gathering a list of Myths that the Business Side Has about Learning.

I reached out to my clients, to groups in LinkedIn, to my Brown Bag Learning participants. I also reviewed some books, including Stolovitch & Keeps "Telling Ain't Training"; Doyle's "The Manager's Pocket Guide to Training", Bell's "Managers as Mentors". I also brought to memory my own recollections from over a decade of work and research on learning.

I compiled a list of about 140 myths and then used a card-sort methodology to separate them into categories.

Here are the results:

Everybody Hold Myths

First, it became clear that the Business Side isn't the only group that holds myths. Learners and we as Learning Professionals have our own sets of myths. We can't demonize the Business Side. We have to go out of our way to understand and work with the business side to craft workable effective solutions for our organizations and all the people impacted.

Let me say that sometimes I kind of regret that a distinction has to be made between us as learning professionals and them as the business side. There's something wrong with that distinction (we are IN the business aren't we), yet the dichotomy makes some sense since we support others who do the actual work of the business.

The Most Popular Myths
(that the Business Side Has about Learning, according to Learning Professionals)

These are in order from my card-sorting categorization effort. The most-often cited are listed first.

  1. Bad Learning Designs are Thought to be Good Learning Designs (big list below).
  2. Training Alone Produces Improvements in On-the-job Performance.
  3. Information Presentation is Sufficient as a Training Design.
  4. Training & Instructional Design Require No Special Skills or Competencies.
  5. Learners Know How to Learn.
  6. Managers Think Learning & Development is a Low-Priority Part of their Role.

Other High-Importance Categories

  • On-the-Job Learning is Forgotten or NOT Utilized or NOT Supported.
  • It’s a Training Issue (a conclusion drawn before considering alternative causes).
  • Formal Training has Little Impact.
  • Experienced Workers Don’t Need Training.
  • Development of Learning Interventions is Easy and Can be Shortened or Short-Changed.
  • Measurement of Learning. Miscellaneous Issues thereof.
  • Technology is Key to Learning Success.

Will's and Other Additions

  • Learning Designs Don’t Need to specifically Minimize Forgetting (Enable Remembering).
  • Content Doesn’t Need Validation.
  • Particular Behaviors are Easy to Learn (e.g., It's easy to do customer service).
  • Learning is Always Beneficial. It is Never Disruptive or Distracting. It Never Misinforms.
  • Opportunity Costs of Learning Can be Ignored.
  • We Don’t Have to Measure Learning.
  • We Have to Measure ROI.
  • We can Avoid Measuring Retrieval.

Short List of the Bad Learning Designs that the Business Side (and others I might add) Think Are Good Learning Designs

  • It is good to have new employee take all their elearning
    courses right away before starting work.
  • Employees ONLY learn by doing.
  • Reading is always bad, boring, and ineffective.
  • Training can be just as effective if we make it as short as
  • Training doesn’t need pre-work or post-work.
  • A large library of courses or books is the way to go.
  • Employees need to know everything.
  • We should and CAN cater to learning styles.
  • Latest management craze (provide book to everyone).
  • Six-hour online courses are fine.
  • Some learning media are inherently better than other
    learning media.
  • Best value in training is a 10 to 12 hour day.
  • More information = More learning.
  • People remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they see…
  • Most communication is by body language (57% is body
    language, only a small fraction communicated is in the actual learning
  • We need more exciting visual decorations to grab attention.
  • Immediate feedback is always best.
  • Etc.


The first thing to do is to demonize everyone and give ourselves kudos for our wisdom,  conscientiousness, and whimsical charm.


The first thing to do is to take responsibility. Just as a speaker must take responsibility to ensure that his or her listeners are understanding the intended message (even though much is out of the speaker's control), we must take responsibility for ensuring that our business stakeholders (1) understand learning at a deep level, (2) understand how they can ensure that training is applied successfully on the job, and (3) understand how they can create a work-learning environment that supports employees in learning on their own, from each other, and from their managers.

I got started on this myth gathering as a way to help me build a course for a client (a very large company) to help them improve work-learning at their company top to bottom, including formal and on-the-job learning.

Will this be easy? No. Someone today at my Brown Bag Webinosh asked, "Haven't we been trying to bust these myths for decades?" Great question, and it goes to the difficulty of the task. Many of us have been trying for decades to make changes, but I think also that many of us are just doing our little part as order takers. We build learning interventions when asked. So, bottom line is that I think we could try harder. That's the first thing.

We need to try smarter as well. I've learned over the years, when I've tried to communicate complicated research-based information, that it is critical to find just the right metaphor, just the right visual model, just the right explanation that is both simple and robust to get the job done.

Maybe human learning and performance is just too complicated to enable this, but I think it's worth a try to build some better metaphors, models, and explanations.

We also need to continue to offer research, real-world examples, and valid evaluation results as evidence. We also need to understand our business partners and their mental models and build our case within their frameworks, so they get what we're saying. We need to build into our training-development process our stakeholder-education efforts and our stakeholder-understanding efforts.

Reaching Out

If your company has created a learning intervention to help your business managers better understand learning and their role in it, I'd love to learn more. Contact me.

If your company would like to utilize or co-develop such a learning intervention, feel free to contact me now.

Complete Lists of Myths That the Business Side Has About Learning
(according to Learning Professionals)
(Note that these are offered "as is" with typos, etc.)

  1. "learning" is the accountability of the Training
    or Development Department or staff, rather than a leadership responsibility
  2. 1 and done – one class and they'll know everything
  3. 1 or 2 day management training seminar can turn an
    ineffective manager in to a high performing one.
  4. A best practice is to "get all the PPLs out of the
  5. A business gives a metrics pass to the learning group
    because “that stuff can’t be measured” and is then puzzled.
  6. A learning buffet (large library of courses) is the way to
  7. A learning group is not integrated with those responsible
    for performance support.
  8. a test is need to prove the learners
    ""know"" it
  9. Any set of questions will do. There is no need to check to
    see which ones are good measures and which are not.
  10. Anyone can train someone else therefore anyone can create a
    training course.
  11. Asking a performance leader (someone good at their job) to
    deliver on the job training should not diminish that performer's output
  12. Bad Learning Designs are Thought to be Good Learning Designs
    (big list below).
  13. best value in training is a day 10 or 12 hours long.
  14. Build it and it will run: it's vital to get IT involved
  15. Build it before or without any needs assessment.
  16. Butts in seats is all that matters
  17. Content Doesn’t Need Validation.
  18. Context doesn't matter; just teach everyone the right steps
    to a task
  19. Courses without organizational support are okay.
  20. customer service is easy to teach.
  21. Delivering or presenting instructional content (via ILT or
    online courseware) is sufficient to elicit improved performance in the
  22. Different media create different learning results.
  23. Don't bother with objectives; just present the content.
  24. E-learning development is fast
  25. e-Learning isn't learning.
  26. E-Learning takes 1/3 the time of classroom instruction, so
    it should only cost 1/3 as much to create
  27. electronic learning is just as effective as in person
  28. Employees can't manage their own learning successfully
  29. employees need to know everything.
  30. Employees only learn by doing.
  31. everyone learns the same way (often the way that the manager
    best learns
  32. Everyone learns the same way, so only one style of learning
    is required..
  33. Experienced Workers Don’t Need Training.
  34. Facilitators can develop great courses
  35. Formal (scheduled, structured, SME-created) learning
    interventions are the best means of conveying knowledge and skills to our
  36. Formal Training has Little Impact.
  37. Getting certified by taking a training class alone
  38. Hands-on training is okay if it just enables
  39. Help mgmt solve problem, not just do workshop
  40. I already know it so I don't need to go to training.
  41. I attended a training class so I don't need to practice it.
  42. I attended a training class so I must know how to do it.
  43. I don't have to take part.
  44. I don't need to go through training, I just need my people
  45. I know everyone had different learning styles, but I learn
    hands on.
  46. I left them a to-do list–they should follow it. No follow
    up required.
  47. I need new folks to start immediately. No time for training.
  48. I should see immediate results on my bottom line the first
    day after training
  49. idea sharing is a good form of learning
  50. If ""they"" can do it,
    ""they"" can train it.
  51. If I tell all of my people what to do in a meeting, they'll
    do it and won't need reminders or additional training
  52. If someone doesn't know how to do something I will just do
    it myself because it's faster than teaching
  53. If someone is trained on something they will be able to
    easily figure out how to apply it to their current job without any guidance
  54. 'if we build it they will come
  55. I'll figure it out on my own so therefore I don't need to go
    to training.
  56. I'm a Director/VP so I don't need to go.
  57. I'm a visual learner – I can only understand it if I see it.
  58. in hard economic times it makes sense to cut training.
  59. Information makes for learning
  60. Information Presentation is Sufficient as a Training Design.
  61. Interactive eLearning is only for Gen X or younger. Older
    folks won't get it.
  62. It has to be interactive
  63. IT training still needs vaildation if the training is
    presented from a task point of view. Must ensure that the steps taught are the
    steps needed to complete the task.
  64. It’s a Training Issue.
  65. Its a training issue
  66. It's better if I just have someone show them how to do it.
  67. It's easy for people to change if you train them right
  68. It's okay for the training function to be order takers.
  69. I've been promoted so I don't have to go to training.
  70. Just send me the handouts/training materials and I'll figure
    it out.
  71. Lack of cultural sensitivity for global audiences
  72. Lack of performance results mostly from lack of skills or
  73. latest management book or craze (providing book to everyone)
  74. Learners have misconception that they don't have
    responsibility to go beyond listening.
  75. Learners Know How to Learn.
  76. Learners know what they need
  77. Learning Designs Don’t Need to specifically Minimize
    Forgetting (Enable Remembering).
  78. Learning Development is Easy and Can be Shortened or
  79. Learning does not happen outside the classroom
  80. learning is a luxury. 
    We hired smart people.  Just work.
  81. Learning is Always Beneficial. It is Never Disruptive or
    Distracting. It Never Misinforms.
  82. Learning P's. don't understand that learning happens on the
  83. Learning should not take a lot of time away from work.  And people should be able to do self-study
    for almost everything
  84. Learning/Training is the responsibility of other departments
    — NOT the responsibility of the managers.
  85. Let's give them a book or seminar on the topic and they'll
    be all better.
  86. Live virtual programs (LVC) are most effective when they are
    recorded without an audience and made available for playback
  87. Managers think it's more valuable to create multiple SMEs as
    opposed to structured learning.
  88. Managers Think Learning & Development is a Low-Priority
    Part of their Role.
  89. Measurement of Learning Misc. Issues.
  90. Money not available
  91. More information provided, more learning.
  92. more/better training will solve the problem
  93. Most communication is by body language (55%) and tone of
    voice (37%) rather than choice of words (7%). [This is a bastardization of
    Mehrabian's studies.]
  94. My reports went through e-learning. I don't need to do more.
  95. My time is valuable, I don't have time to take a training
  96. need a class [to practice the stuff]; I already read it
  97. Non-business people shouldn’t be involved in business
    decision making
  98. Not just test scores!
  99. On the job training happens without structure or reward or
  100. one size fits all" approach
  101. Only paper and pencil tests (i.e., multiple
    choice/true-false) are adequate for regulatory purposes to prove that the
    learner has mastered the content.
  102. On-the-Job Learning is Forgotten or NOT Utilized or NOT
  103. Opportunity Costs of Learning Can be Ignored.
  104. Other High-Importance Categories
  105. Particular Behaviors are Easy to Learn.
  106. People can learn how to use software from a cheat sheet.
  107. people can learn without being made self-aware about their
    own level of competence.
  108. people know "how" to learn
  109. People's overall learning doesn't matter, I just want them
    to do the task right
  110. Performers should be assessed immediately after they have
    received the content from an instructor or from a courseware program.
  111. PowerPoint with narration is good enough.
  112. PPL completion rate is the way to measure quality of
  113. PPLs and in-store activities are useless – we need to do
    hands-on training "instead".
  114. presentation = training
  115. Pyramid.
  116. Quantify and communicate the value
  117. Reading is always bad, boring, ineffective.
  118. Regulatory and credentialling agencies create good tests.
  119. Reports generated by a Learning Management System (LMS) are
    sufficient for monitoring the learning-to-assessment-to-performance continuum
    in our workplace.
  120. Role plays are a waste of my time.
  121. Seen IT buy ""learning"" w/o consultitng
    HR or Training dept
  122. Six-hour online courses are just fine. i.e. no
    acknowledgement of information overload erasing what is learned.
  123. SME's are the best trainers, and Trainers are always the SME's":
    Pulling an SME to deliver training just because they know the most isn't always
    the most effective approach.
  124. SME's or developers make the best (or even competent)
  125. So often what is perceived by mgmt as good training is
    attributed to the skills of a good presenter, not to training design.
  126. successful performance during training usually results in
    improved otj performance.
  127. Technology is Key to Learning Success.
  128. Technology is key to learning success.
  129. Tell me what I need to know and that's enough.
  130. tell once, people know it.
  131. tell them and they'll do it.
  132. Telling is all we need to do."
  133. Telling somebody once means they will remember it AND apply
    it to their work.
  134. That "presentation" = "training".
  135. That stakeholders will see imediate results (i.e. less than
    1 year).
  136. The best way to design is to use the "present and test
  137. The biggest myth is that training alone will change people's
  138. The business believes that they can put an employee through
    training (be it live, web-based, etc.) and magically they will automatically
    put the skills into place
  139. the course alone will solve the problem
  140. the HR as a service provider model gives problems as your
    'client' is your customer – and the customer is always right
  141. The more slides, the better (death by PowerPoint)
  142. The only way to learn is on-the-job-training; spending money
    on training programs is a waste
  143. The skills of instructional designers and educators are
    pretty shallow and their key abilities are primarily related to instructional
  144. the training department can't help – they don't know our
    side of the business
  145. the training is bad
  146. there are learning styles
  147. There are way too many PPLs… but we need a PPL on
  148. There is no special knowledge needed to teach, design, or
    organize training
  149. They can learn all they need to know in (pick arbitrary unit
    of time)
  150. they don't realize the importance of reinforcement, repeat
    sessions, follow up
  151. They have a college degree so they already know it.
  152. They need a course in order to learn
  153. Think in-person learning is more effective than online
  154. too busy
  155. Training & Instructional Design Require No Special
    Skills or Competencies.
  156. Training Alone Produces Improvements in On-the-job
  157. Training can be just as effective if we make it as short as
    possible (one day instead of three days)
  158. training course will solve the problem.
  159. Training determines job content and tasks, not the
    supervisor or work center.
  160. training doesn't need follow-up
  161. Training doesn't need pre-work or post-work
  162. Training done to replace what managers should be doing
  163. training fixes everything
  164. Training is a cheap-quick-easy solution to a problem with my
  165. Training is common sense.
  166. Training is the responsibility of the organization that
    sponsors it and the trainer who delivers it.
  167. Training is time consuming and does not produce results
  168. Training isn't very important in my responsibilities.
  169. Training Just Happens
  170. Training takes too long.
  171. Training will automatically change behavior on the job
  172. Training willing workers creates willing and able workers.
  173. Training/teaching/telling = learning
  174. Trainings are luxury and sometimes seen as a cookie for the
    staff at a time no one really need it. Let them have some legal fun
  175. Try again, make sure you use the Access Code that is showing
    and follow by a # sign.
  176. verbal responses (for example to customers) are easy.
  177. We can Avoid Measuring Retrieval.
  178. we can send them an email.
  179. We can train people to do anything…
  180. we can train people to instantly recall anything.
  181. We can use common sense to guide training design.
  182. We can't bring in outside help – our industry is too
    specialized and our needs are too unique.
  183. We Don’t Have to Measure Learning.
  184. We don't have to look at the performance situation.
  185. We don't have to validate our content.
  186. We don't need to learn! We just need to prove we meet the
  187. We don't need to practice. Just tell them.
  188. We have no time allocated for training in our budget so it
    doesn't happen (mgr may not realize that a lot of training happens on the job –
    not only as a formal process where the employee sits at the computer).
  189. We Have to Measure ROI.
  190. We only hire people who know what they are doing, they don't
    need to learn anything, and if they do, they'll pick it up on the job
  191. we should automatically assume that an SME is ipso facto
    'the best trainer'.
  192. We should/can cater to learning styles.
  193. When things are not going well it is clearly a lack of
    skills and knowledge – so TRAIN them
  194. Why explain to all levels of employees how the organisation
    works, how the departments relate to one another, etc
  195. Why would I train my employees if they are already doing it?
  196. Why would I want to train my employees in specific
  197. You can develop a perfect course without SMEs.
  198. you can fix anything with enough training.
  199. You can’t teach people relationship skills (either they have
    them or they don’t)
  200. You don't need objectives, any one can write training.
  201. You either have the ability to learn or not.
  202. You have competence or not, then you learn it on the job.
  203. You need to use a technology to train people properly

Ideas Participants in My Brown-Bag Learning Event Offered on What We as Learning Professionals Ought to Do about the Myth Problem
(Note that these are offered "as is" with typos, etc.)

  • Our responsibility – gently guide. Present the right solution when asked for the wrong one
  • Give examples of whether X type of intervention has been successful
  • Offer performance solutions: this is what we can do (beyond training)
  • Bring out the research to dispel the myths
  • Develop solid business acumen and work, plan, collaborate from there
  • to educate clients
  • We need to discuss the learning models and theories that we support when appropriate
  • We should be advocates for learners
  • We should questions their thinking, ask for evidence
  • Provide real evidence of success.
  • educate, communicate, inform
  • We have to walk a fine line between sticking to the ""truths"" we know, yet dealing tactfully with management's myths.
  • myth busters
  • Don't be an order taker
  • I have found that the RIGHT manager can make a difference. Sometimes change can come from within, by working to influence a middle manager.
  • Have proof/case studies of effects of good design and guidance.
  • Don't wait to be invited to clarify them. Anticipate the reality and invite yourself to the table.
  • Sell our clients on our skills and recommendations. It keeps coming down to convincing management about the value of what we have to offer.
  • As learning professionals we need to promote the effort to focus on what is needed to improve performance.
  • To have a clear focus and mission for learning in our organizations, and to be able to communicate clearly, with supporting information.
  • Dealing with these myths is our reality and part of scoping a project and defining target and objectives realistically… all the time…

Tomorrow (Friday January 23rd, 2009), I'm holding a webinar on the Myths the Business Side Has About Learning.

I've gathered a list of myths from learning professionals (folks on LinkedIn, clients, books, me), have done a card sort on the myths, and I'd like to share those myths with you and get your additional thoughts. I hope also to have time for a discussion regarding what WE (as learning professionals) need to do to overcome these perceptions. What responsibility should we take?

I got started on this because a client has asked me to build a course to teach the business side about learning and their role in supporting learning, both formal and informal. Confronting myths directly is one thing I'll need to do in my course design.

You can sign up for the webinar by clicking here.