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Seb Anthony

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Apocryphal research or reality – a test for trainers…


We all at some time have come across the statistics about how much you remember if you see it, hear and see it, hear see and do it etc. I have noticed that every time I see/hear someone use it they (a) change the numbers and (b) omit the source.

So who really did the research and what really were the numbers? No bluffing now - that's what you do at thef ront of the room. We want evidence...
Clive Hook

4 Responses

  1. The one I use
    We remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, 50% of what we see and hear, 80% of what we say and 90% of what we say and do.
    Unfortunately, I have no source on that.
    Also, 35% of the population intake information visually, 25% of the population intake info through auditory (hearing) and 40% take in info through kinaesthetic (touchy feely), again no source.

  2. Dale’s Cone of experience.
    Dale’s cone of experience relates to how much people remember. The statistics are shown in a triangle broken into 6 levels.

    The top level states people remember 10% of what they read.
    The next level reports people remember 20% of what they hear.
    Then it states people remember 30% of what they see,
    then 50% of what they hear & see,
    then 70% of what they say & write
    and finaly, stating people remember 90% of what they do.

    Hope this has been helpful

    Peter Webb

  3. research
    Part of the original but questioned research comes from the following:-
    A study conducted in 1967 by psychologist Albert Mehrabian attempted to distinguish the importance of verbal and nonverbal communication. The conclusion was the 7-38-55 formula. This has basically been interpreted to mean communication is 7% verbal, 38% vocal, and 55% facial.

  4. Input channels
    Good question – I had exactly the same question while preparing a Train the Trainer course and chose not to include these figures as I couldn’t reference them. To add to the last comment on input channels though, there’s loads of research on learning styles (Honey & Mumford; Kolb; Dunn, Dunn & Price etc.)with lots of questionnaires available on-line to establish preferred input channels. A good site is with a questionnaire to establish whether you prefer visual/auditory/reading or kinesthetic input, and they’re gradually building up statistics based on on-line completions of the questionnaire. In particular they point out differences between teachers and students. Do the exact statistics matter though? Isn’t the point of this stuff to make trainers/presenters realise they must address more than one input channel in order to reach people? If this is what you want to get across, then I reccommend the VARK questionnaire. It doesn’t aim to be scientific, just practical (just like trainers!). I just used it in a Train the Trainer course – everyone completed it, they all came out different styles, I asked: Will your group be the same? (Yes), What should you do about it as a trainer? (not just lecture, use pictures, concrete examples, discussion etc. etc.). Point experienced and accepted in 20 minutes flat. That’s the kind of research I can make good use of as a trainer!


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