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Seb Anthony

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How We Learn


Does anyone know where these statistics come from?

How we learn

1% through taste
2% through touch
3% through smell
11% through hearing
83% through sight

What 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
90% of what we say and do

I want to use them in a training course, but can't find a reference for them. If anyone knows the source or any reference for them, please advise.


Laura Eden

9 Responses

  1. Learning Pyramid
    Re the remembering statistics, I saw the following in Motorola University: Creating Mindware for the 21st Century, Corporate University Xchange May/June 1996, Vol 2 No 3.
    Retention Rates
    Lecture 5%
    Reading 10%
    Audio Visual 20%
    Demonstration 30%
    Discussion Group 50%
    Practice by Doing 75%
    and Teach Others 80%

  2. No, but what about this?
    I read this one somewhere:

    In developing a skill, 5% of the effort is in the gaining of knowledge, 15% is in basic development of skills, and 80% is in adapting and applying what they have learnt.

    It sounds like all these things, broadly true, but I would like to know where it came from of course.

  3. Dale’s Cone of Experience

    the read, hear, see etc is Edgar Dale (1960) and he developed Dale’s Cone of Experience. Type Dale’s Cone into any search engine on the web it will bring it up with a diagram.


  4. Be cautious
    I also share concerns about these often quoted statistics. There has been little research to confirm both Dale’s and Mehrabian’s figures and they came from very limited and specific settings. The best advice is to use them as guidance to back up common sense in how you design and deliver training.

  5. The Lesser-Used Senses
    You’ve already had comments on the classic texts, but a more recent reference is Martin Lindstrom’s excellent book Brand Sense. He’s the guy behind a large volume of recent research into taste, feel and smell, especially in marketing.

    I bought the book after attending one of his seminars and have found it clear, current and compelling. You should be able to get it via Amazon.

    John Driscoll

  6. How We Learn “Statistics”
    In response to Laura Eden’s question, I would direct everyone to a well-cited article I read very recently [and which was also cited today, by David G.–My apologies, for not having seen this before responding!]about those very numbers (reading…10%, etc.), and which can be found at Dale Cone’s model is referenced as having been created by Mr. Dale (WITHOUT numbers) simply as an (obviously, very estimable) intuitive model for teaching the effectiveness of various visual and audio media. His original “Cone of Experience” is copied directly from the final edition of his book, [Dale, E. (1946, 1954, 1969). Audio-visual methods in teaching. New York: Dryden]. I encourage everyone who has participated in this thread to take a look!

  7. Cultural influences on communication, learning and perception
    To what extent can American research findings on communication be extrapolated to other cultures? It seems that the few ‘statistics’ in this area are mainly from American ‘studies’.


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