Lies About Learning Research

Doug Lynch

The learning profession has a propensity for promoting inaccuracy and lies. In the simplest terms, a lie is a falsehood, and in that sense, anything that ends up being ultimately untrue could be interpreted as a lie. But in the messy world of social science and corporate learning, such a standard isn’t practical. A more precise definition of a lie implies an intent to deceive. Sadly, because of its messiness and our own lack of conviction in the efficacy of what we do, our space is fraught with well-intentioned lies.

My focus in this chapter is on the lies designed to gloss over the messiness of our world with respect to research on the effectiveness of what we do. At its core, research is simply a systematic ...

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