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Friday, 03 November 2006


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Will, I feel your pain. I have been fighting the same sort of fight in my University about learning styles and personality types. Several entire departments have their students take the Myers-Briges and base their teaching methods on the results. As our teacher candidates take these courses, we are fighting a losing battle. I will continue to read and email links to your page. It was interesting to hear comments when I sent the Learning Cone post. . .Thanks for for helping me by providing rational discussions of actual research. 'mangine that!



I wanted to use the stats from the Learning Pyramid in a promotional campaign. However, I was curious about how the numbers were derived so I started conducting a little research of my own and stumbled across your site. If the Learning Pyramid is a myth (and I suspect that it is) has there been any research done on learning retention and the senses since the sixties?

Hilmi Yigit - Turkiye

Hi Will,
thank you for the endeavour you have taken to sum up all the information. Like other people, I was going to utilize the concept in one of my trainings. Trying to find a better resolution picture and by the way some background info, I come across with your site. Interesting, though thousands of scholars work in social sciences in hundereds of universities, no other research finding which is easily transferrable to members as above.

Julie Lowrie

Thanks for debunking this myth and showing what can happen when one statement or chart appears in an academic article, only to be repetitively cited as accurate in other articles until it becomes part of the landscape, even if it is completely inaccurate, as is the case here.

Scott Meech

Have you been given more feedback about this? Has anyone at any universities contacted you about this lately to dispute your findings?

I was at a session today that is "grounded" in research. They used this pyramid and its percentages. Hmm... grounded in research!

Tanya Straker

I too was looking to the source of these numbers before putting the information in my presentation and this article is helpful because now I won't waste any more time looking. However I found the tone of the article righteous and unhelpful. The basic principle can be proven with a group of students and though I will make the point in my presentation that it is best to use different methods to communicate a message, the numbers would have grabbed the attention of the audience better than my general statements. Sure, I expect better from NTL but what I really need are the numbers not a diatribe about being right and how NTL and everyone in our industry is stupid. Just doesn't help. And to Rebecca, maybe this whole issue proves that there is something to personality type. Maybe a certain personality is driven to substantiate research before reporting it!:) Anyway, thank you Will for your determination and this posting.

Anthony Betrus

I did a presentation on this subject a few years ago and have posted a link to it. I agree completely with you Will. I went a bit further in my presentation: Not only are the numbers not verified in research, they can NEVER be verified (as presented) because the percentages do not account for the learners prior experience, which has everything to do with which methods are appropriate (memorable) to use for a given group of learners.

I've put a link to the complete presentation that I presented, along with Mike Molenda, in 2002.

Would you like to help me update the Wikipedia entry on this subject? I'm sure Mike Molenda would be willing to help (my dissertation adviser!).

In case the link doesn't work, here it is:

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I saw the company (Academic Answers) in my student paper, and they’d written about custom dissertation sites being unethical, but with dissertation-help.co.uk, I saw a really helpful service for people who wanted to see what a high quality answer should look like. I would never have dreamt of handing in the work as my own, but I couldn’t get much help from lecturers so I had no one else to turn to.

Lloyd R. Sherman

I see a different way of looking at the issues - The Learning Pyrmid fact or fiction? We expereince the world and carry out our lives accepting things as either essentially true or literally true. Most here argue the literal side of the matter. My take is that the construct in question is, in fact, essentially, true. We know it is true - even if we can't prove it. There is no doubt in our experience that if students can "teach" each other and us as teachers, they have learned beyond knowledge received by passive absorption from dispensers. Viseral engagement of the mind and spirit in persuit of knowledge with the other (peer), has the highest possible yield per unit of time and the longest lasting per unit of time. Dyad Pedagogy - forever!

Scot Aldred

Can you locate any large scale empirical studies that support or prove this model incorrect.

If you can I'd be very interested to review these.



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I personally like your post; you have shared good insights and experiences.
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Bram Moreinis

I have updated the research presented in the percentage diagram. While students retained 80% of what they learned "Doing", it turns out they retain 130% when "Doing on a Computer."

Naturally, this information was not available in the 60s. Please update your records!



I saw a really helpful service for people who wanted to see what a high quality answer should look like. I would never have dreamt of handing in the work as my own, but I couldn’t get much help from lecturers so I had no one else to turn to. http://www.hotfilemediafire.com


Great thanks for your research and this posting.


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Whenever i see the post like your’s i feel that there are still helpful people who share information for the help of others, it must be helpful for other’s. thanx and good job.

Muralidhara Rao. B

For me, intuitively, the pyramid exists, if the sample is random and large enough. Perhaps there is no gain in fighting over the numbers/ proportions now; those things change over time, anyway.

On a different note, a little bit of lazyness, intellectual laxity, naivity, defensiveness towards own acts are all human traits; NTL (and its members) can neither be 100% immune themselves nor change others 100% through training.

Laura, Tricycle for Adults

I have always questioning the accuracy of those research. Your post makes me more confidence on my stand now. Excellent writing!

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Not a big fan of the subject but a good read none the less. You have presented the topic very well.


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Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful ! I’m still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post thanks.

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Hi Will,
I don't have the time to read al the comments but I've been looking for the cone of experience/learning peramyd last week and found out the same as you did. Exept the fact that the cone of experience is presented withoud %'s in fact in the second printing it is on the 43 page. (dale, 1954) in the chapter about the cone is no % mentioned too.
Thanks anyway for the rest of youre information, it has been very helpfull

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