Dotty Andragogy

The amusing musings of an adult educator in the corporate training world.

The Joys of Training Toys

training toys 2


Check it out! I found these little guys on sale for just a dollar per package of five at Target! The great care and time that I spend picking out the perfect training toys for my classroom is perhaps something that only another trainer could understand… some of my hard-to-meet criteria include requirements that the toys must:

  • be noiseless, unless for a particular purpose that requires noise, like buzzers for contests which then all need to make a different noise so I can tell them apart, but the noises also all have to be equally loud to be fair (see? I wasn’t kidding about serious criteria);
  • be able to be sanitized (I even wash my playdoh);
  • be durable enough that they will last at least one month, but not good enough quality that students will steal them, making me a frequent shopper at Walmart, Dollarama and Target;
  • contain fiddly parts for those learners who can’t concentrate if their hands aren’t occupied… you know, the pen-clickers, beer bottle label peelers, coaster rippers. I used to call them kinesthetic learners but now I can’t ever since I’ve read that learning styles aren’t real (see previous post).

Don’t believe in the power of training toys? Check out this article that outlines how training toys can enhance a positive learning environment. I wasn’t convinced before either, until one day I forgot to bring my toys to a workshop and boy did I hear it! Then again, if toys are so exciting to my students maybe that’s saying something about my facilitation rather than the toys. Hmmm. Well who would not get excited about these?

training toys


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MythBusters – The Teacher’s Edition

In my last post I shared with you the shattering moment when I realized that learning styles weren’t a real thing. Now, be prepared to have your minds blown again:

You know Mehrabian’s model of communication? 55% of our communication is conveyed through body language, 38% through voice tone, and only 7% through words? Guess what. Also not true. See the Mehrabian myth very aptly debunked in this video:

Rather than the model simply being “made up” or false, it seems we have misinterpreted the results of Mehrabian’s original experiment. Here is a detailed description of the original Mehrabian experiments that became the origin of these numbers:

And the educational myths don’t stop with Mehrabian. Every teacher has heard of Dale’s cone of experience: we remember 10% of what we see, 20% of what we hear, 50% of what we see and hear, 80% of what we do see, hear, and do, right? Wrong. According to this PhD’s research, the graph is a fraud. Even Edgar Dale is uncertain of where the numbers come from that are attributed to him.

On top of all this, a recent CBC breaking news story revealed that Hello Kitty is not a cat, she is actually a girl. I don’t even know what to believe anymore.

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What do you mean, learning styles aren’t real??

Today a classmate of mine in my instructor diploma course shared this link and gave me a rude awakening: what?? Learning styles aren’t real??

So, it turns out, some studies show that learning styles (for example, visual vs. auditory vs. kinesthetic) are nothing more than a debunked myth. All that time spent on identifying and analyzing learning styles of my students, different in every class… all my time spent modifying instructional strategies to appeal to all learning style: assigning text readings and generating graphs for my visual learners, recording podcasts for my auditory learners, orchestrating hands on activities for my kinesthetic learners… all that was for nothing?! *sigh*

Think of all I could have accomplished in that time… all the Facebook posts I could have made, hours of cat videos I could have watched (and then posted on FB), the homework for my course I could have done….

I wonder what else I believe to be true is actually an educational myth. Better do some research. Just one more cat video first.