@ADDIE_ID is a Twitter pseudonym for someone who discusses “Analysis-Design-Development-Implementation-Evaluation” and the “Instructional Design” model, and is really most sincerely dead, as are many training-related theories. A recent Tweet on multiple intelligences started off a chain-reaction in my mind:
I responded that many learning theories-in-use have become the hocus-pocus of the training industry. Here is what a quick search on multiple intelligences (which has a tendency to be linked with learning styles) brought:
Gardner’s multiple intelligences have therefore been utilised to justify the development of broader curriculum opportunities and increased differentiation in teaching. The theory has also been aligned with learning styles. This paper raises serious concerns regarding the empirical basis for the theory of multiple intelligences and suggests that it has confused the social basis of intellectual activity with a proposed set of biologically based characteristics.
Intelligence as a concept is generally associated with the kind of thinking capacity that make for success as school. Gardner’s labeling the aptitudes he proposed as intelligences, naturally led teachers to erroneously assume that they were fungible (one could substitute for another) and should be taught to.
In the end, Gardner’s theory is simply not all that helpful. For scientists, the theory of the mind is almost certainly incorrect. For educators, the daring applications forwarded by others in Gardner’s name (and of which he apparently disapproves) are unlikely to help students. Gardner’s applications are relatively uncontroversial, although hard data on their effects are lacking. The fact that the theory is an inaccurate description of the mind makes it likely that the more closely an application draws on the theory, the less likely the application is to be effective. All in all, educators would likely do well to turn their time and attention elsewhere.
Another theory that informs practice in the field of education and training is Bloom’s Taxonomy, which has major flaws, as I wrote in Better than Bloom’s [see comments for more references]. I’m sure that many others can be added, so feel free to comment or link.
I would like to see a serious discussion, online or in physical space, that gets at many of the theories we use and shows practitioners what they are based on, how they work and their validity in view of the current science and research. We should keep in mind that while, “All models are wrong, some are useful” ~ George E.P. Box. This discussion should not be a myth-busting exercise but more of a pragmatic approach on what works and why. For educators, trainers, developers, vendors, etc. – we owe it to our field.
Suggested tag for Delicious, Twitter, et al – lrntheory