Memes, Critical Thinking, and L&D: Insight from Allen Partridge

Posted by Katelind Hays on Aug 7, 2018 10:00:00 AM
Katelind Hays

11292017 Modern Learning on the Air channel twitter-2As technology evolves, our ability to learn anytime and anywhere changes, too. Now, our possibilities seem literally endless. Constant communication, the pervasive availability of information, and the ever-changing opportunities for social collaboration exemplify this new reality.

At no point, though, has critical thinking been simultaneously more important and less commonplace. As learners and learning architects, we struggle to discern the accuracy and efficacy of information on the internet. Thanks to web-based anonymity, how do we figure out who on the internet has any expertise?

Allen Partridge, Wyoming cowboy and eLearning rebel, sat down with the host of the Modern Learning on the Air podcast series Phylise Banner to discuss:

  • Combating logical fallacies in learner-sourced content
  • Defining the importance of information literacy
  • Encouraging learners to challenge their assumptions
  • Identifying experts in the digital age

Listen and learn all about Allen’s learning and development soapbox topic: critical thinking. As he sagely explains, “Critical thinking plays a crucial role in corporate training, but it doesn’t play the role in training that it should.” Changing the standard starts with looking at how learners choose to consume information in their own time. For example,

We’ve started to see the kind of proliferation of memes as a fundamental form of communication. Combine that with growing research that’s telling us that the first choice that most people make when they need to research something or find out something at a point of need, they’re turning to Google or YouTube. They’re turning to search engines for information that’s vital for the immediate task at hand, even in a job and professional situation.

What does this mean for learning and development? Well, more and more, we’re finding that rather than having curated content at the heart of that first decision about what to learn, folks are going to the wild, wild west on their own. People do what people do. L&D professionals are not going to change that fundamental behavior.

Learners will do what they’re accustomed to doing and follow their first instinct. In a business context, what we find is that, oftentimes, managers, directors, folks trying to ensure their business is run well, are very conscious of the fact that making choices based on solid evidence is going to lead to better success. But in a kind of common ground context, there’s a dearth of understanding about what constitutes solid evidence, or evidence-based training.

The solution to addressing the pieces of this perplexing puzzle? Well, you’ll have to listen to the 30-minute podcast episode to find out!

Topics: Modern Learning on the Air, Modern Learners