What Is the Cone of Learning?
Mar 9, 2013 Learning Methodology 2944 Views
How do you learn?
In what manner of learning style do you pick up a new skill or habit the best?
In my learning journey, I've come across various learning technologies and philosophies. One of which I believe to be worthy of highlighting as a timeless guideline of learning for humanity is the idea of Edgar Dale.
Who is Edgar Dale?
Edgar Dale was the one who created the cone of learning in 1946. He was a US educationist and professor of educations at Ohio State University. The cone of learning was his most famous model.
Since then it has been quoted frequently. The cone of learning reveals the definitive evidence for how we retain information when delivered in various styles and mediums. It also informs us on how to design training courses in specific ways.
Hear are the most popular figures in a typical illustration of the whole model:
After 2 weeks, we tend to remember
- 10% of what we read
- 10% of what we read
- 30% of what we see
- 50% of what we hear and see
- 70% of what we say
- 90% of what we say and do
It has been, however, argued that the Cone of Learning should be titled as Cone of Experience instead because according to "Myths and Worse", when Dale first published his cone there were no numbers associated with the model at all. Furthermore, no research was used to generate it and Dale even warned his readers not to take the model too literally.
Nonetheless, we can derive certain insights from this cone.
What is the Cone of Learning?
The Cone of Learning is a visual guideline to how we can retain information from the activities we are involved in.
Generally, we learn actively or passively.
Active approaches include:
- Doing the real thing
- Simulating the real experience, e.g. Role-playing
- Doing dramatic presentation (teachers always learn more than students!)
- Giving a talk
- Participating in discussion (remember how your trainer always asked you to share/discuss what you learn after about half an hour?)
Passive approaches include:
- Watching a demonstration
- Looking at pictures
- Hearing words
Personally, I am for as wholesome an approach can be and as accelerated as possible in any learning experience. To put it bluntly, "Whatever you have discovered that works for you, keep using it until a better method is discovered."
How Can We Apply the Cone of Learning?
- The Cone of Learning can serve as a guideline for constructing training courses.
- It can also shed lights on how we, as individuals, can learn best on our own.
- Every time you read a book with methods and application ideas, apply at least an idea from it immediately!
- Share what you learn with energy (almost dramatically!)
- By doing so, you reinforce your learning. I have discovered that the more engaged I am with my body expressions, the better I retain information.
Who knows? Perhaps one learns better through listening, while the other learns better through visual observation. Anthony Robbins has developed his own version of learning technology. If you are interested to find out his revolutionary technology, check out his two books:
- Unlimited Power
- Awaken the Giant Within
There is something that I have discovered that can accelerate your learning tremendously. If you have read this far, let this be my little present for you. Anyone (you and I and literally anyone) can learn anything super fast if you apply this method. It skips all the time and efforts and still provides the experience. It requires practice. The more you practice, the better you will be in using this tool/skill. The less you use, the more rusty it becomes and the results dull with the amount of practice.
The magic lies in IMAGINATION. Think about it: if you can imagine the full-blown experience, won't you learn the very same thing? The challenge, however, lies in the fact that most people do not have the references to imagine what they have yet to experience.
Therefore, here I introduce another key that can help you: REVELATION. In order to receive the unknown to be realized as your own experience, you have to be opened to believe in a higher power, or Superior Intelligence. Now, I do not expect everyone or anyone to accept this paragraph right away. Regardless, may this information become useful to you when you do understand the secret behind these words.
What is the one key lesson I learn?
If I must take away one key point, it is to TAKE MASSIVE ACTIONS to learn what I want to learn.
The idea is to be clear on what I want, find a predecessor of the result I want, copy it, and tweak it as I improve along the way. Start nonetheless. Embrace failures as part of the seeds that will germinate success of equivalence when I do succeed.
My Challenge for You
So my challenge for you is:
What are you bent on learning today?
What is one thing you are procrastinating today that you know you must do to achieve your goal?
As Nike puts it aptly: just do it.