Do your learning programs rely on science or flash? Learn how to apply the latest learning science insights when evaluating learning solutions.
Peter Talmers | May 25, 2017
Remember Baby Einstein? Those “educational” videos aimed at infants and toddlers claiming to boost a baby’s abilities? While it was a wonderfully branded product (bought by Disney), its ultimate fate was not so brilliant. In 2009, Disney offered full refunds on the product to millions of parents.
Why? Because research showed that videos have a neutral or possibly even negative impact on a child’s development across a number of measures, particularly when used as a substitute for social interaction with a caring adult. A study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics discredited practices like using videos to improve the language skills of infants. In fact, research has frequently shown reduced verbal ability of children who watched extensive television under age two—the heart of Baby Einstein’s 0-4-year-old target audience. So that’s a story from baby education.
What about business education? Does corporate training rely on more robust science than infant videos? Most solutions claim to improve learning, but executives must take care to avoid the Baby Einsteins of learning and development (L&D). What should they look for? In a word: science.
For decades, vendors have promoted “engaging” product features, rather than evidence that their products promote learning. The exciting news is that we now have an extensive empirical base from which to draw. Cognitive scientists and neuroscientists have conducted hundreds of studies on how people learn that are almost completely overlooked by the industry. Why? Not from lack of interest, but from lack of awareness. This must change.