25 Oct Demystifying 8 Popular Learning Myths: Part 2
In Part I of our two part series, Demystifying 8 Popular Learning Myths, TCP disproved four commonly repeated fables that (despite many prominent thought leaders’ best efforts) have weaseled their way into Learning and Development folklore.
Today, we’re debunking the final four myths and leaving you with a clearer picture of why evidence-based learning and deliberate practice are the only ways to ensure high quality talent development, learner after learner.
Here are Learning Myths 5-8:
Myth 5: It Takes 10,000 Hours of Practice to Become an Expert
There are a myriad of reasons for why this myth doesn’t hold water. For starters, it’s impossible to quantify the amount of time it takes for experts to become experts. Each one has a unique learning path. Secondly, different fields require different amounts of practice. Thirdly, it is deliberate practice only that enables expertise. Deliberate practice, according to top psychologist Anders Ericsson, is the concept of constantly pushing oneself beyond one’s comfort zone, following training activities designed by an expert to develop specific abilities, and using feedback to identify weaknesses and work on them. Finally, numerous cases can be made for learners who have devoted 10,000 or more hours of practice to a subject and are still not considered experts.
Myth 6: People Forget at Predictable Rates
Various claims have been made about people forgetting X subject in Y amount of time. The problem with this particular myth is that it assumes the learner’s knowledge-level without any basis whatsoever. It also fails to take into account the specific concepts, knowledge of the skills, emotional intelligence, mental capacity and, most importantly, learning methods employed. Finally, it’s based on research from the 1800’s…
Myth 7: Micro Means “Better”
Microlearning has solidified a secure space in the Learning and Development playbook as a way to deliver bite-sized educational content for the sake of convenient short-term transference of information. The fact remains, a series of miniature learning units or modules won’t help with retention, as it fails to offer the learner an opportunity to recall and apply the learning in another environment, such as the workplace or out in the field. Deliberate practice remains the gold star when it comes to “better” learning.
Myth 8: Minimally-Guided Learning is More Effective
Minimally-guided or self-regulated learning is a compelling way to empower learners of all levels, but that doesn’t necessarily make it more efficient. Some studies show it fails to produce superior problem solving skills. While a handful of learners will eventually learn through minimally-guided instruction, there are a myriad of more effective methods that will facilitate faster, more impressive results.
Conclusion: Create a Trail of Discovery
With all these myths fogging up our visibility on the optimal path to learning, it can be difficult to decide which learning strategies will actually work.
How do you discern the evidence? When in doubt, create a trail of discovery. Learners of all levels should be able to plan, perform and reflect on the overall learning experience every step of the way.
Catalyst’s Cultivating Learning program taps directly into this concept, allowing learners to choose their own learning, reflect on its takeaways with critical thinking and apply them to the workplace or everyday life.