The Debunker Club is hosting a social get together on Tuesday May 21st at the ATD Conference in Washington, DC.

2 to 3PM during the Ice Cream break!

Are are welcome!

RSVP and details here:



I am thrilled to announce that the Debunker Club will host a social gathering in New Orleans on Monday at 6:30AM.

NOTE: Earlier, I had the start time at 6:40, but I’m going to be there when they open at 6:30!!! And I’ll try to grab the couch!! SMILE

Everyone is welcome!



And here is a view of Dees Coffee house. Just two blocks from hotel!

401 Baronne St, New Orleans, LA 70112


Please tell your stories of how YOU FAILED to be persuasive enough to convince someone or convince a group of people to use research-based practices.

We are the fools, aren’t we, if we can’t persuade, educate, model, cajole, or have influence in reducing the use of learning myths and/or increasing the use of research-based recommendations?

Tell Your Story Below Using the Disqus Comments…


We in The Debunker Club are having a members-only book-discussion group starting in about a week on January 11, 2019—reading the book The Knowledge Illusion — by Steven Sloman & Philip Fernbach.

The book is interesting because it challenges some of our long-held views about how people learn and know. It’s not directly relevant to debunking, per se, but it will bring us deeper insights into learning and cognition. Also, because the ideas are so challenging, it’s likely to raise some provocative debates among us learning professionals. I’ve read the book (this is Will Thalheimer writing this) and I found it thoroughly interesting even if I didn’t agree with everything.

Here are some reviews:

This is our first attempt at having a book discussion group, so it should be fun. It will be an asynchronous conversation (at least to start) so that people from around the world can participate. If we get a good response, we’ll offer a synchronous online discussion after we read the whole book.

I invite you to join me in discussing the book. Again, we’re getting started soon, so it’s best to start reading now… But don’t worry, there will be time to catch up…

And, if you’re not a member, but want to join, go ahead and apply for membership and we’ll be sure to process applications every week for January through February.

If you’re a member, you can see the chapter schedule by clicking here.



On November 2nd, 2017, the Debunker Club sponsored a one-hour Twitter debate using the hashtag #DebunkDebate. We have a wonderful, cacophonous dialog in typical Twitter-chat fashion.

The file below contains all the tweets from the debate.

Download Great 70-20-10 Debate Tweet Stream


Also, Cara North posted a prettier version here.



The Debunker Club just held the "June is Debunk Learning Styles Month," enlisting its members and the larger community of learning professionals to debunk the myth that learning styles are valuable in designing learning. Here's a review of some of the evidence we were using.

So, did we make a difference in just one short month? Well, we got lots of folks to publicize the issue.

But that's activity, not results. Do we have any evidence that we made a difference? Well, it's probably too early to tell — because this needs to be a long-term effort — but it does look like we've moved the needle.

On June 1st, only one (that's right, just one) result on Google's first two pages of search results was negative or critical of learning styles. Even the Wikipedia page devoted to learning styles was heavily weighted to portray learning styles in a positive light.

One month later (today) on July 1st, four of the search items are critical of learning styles. While this 400% increase is good, and we ought to celebrate briefly, it's still not enough! Still over 75% of the first two search pages promote bogus information.

And note, one of us edited the Wikipedia page to make criticisms of learning-styles approaches much more salient! So folks looking for unbiased information on Wikipedia will now see a much more balanced overview.

How Can You Help?

At The Debunker Club, we have three main channels of persuasion:

  1. We can publicize the myth of learning styles by writing blog posts, talking with our colleagues, speaking at conferences, writing articles, posting information on LinkedIn, etc. By making people aware, and generally more skeptical of myths, we encourage more critical consumption of information in the learning field.
  2. We can make attempts at educating those who are spreading the misinformation.
  3. We can provide better information — information vetted by science or rigorous evidence-based practices as proven to improve learning results.

So, continue to do all these things!

Also, to move the search indices, promote and visit websites that have information critical of learning styles.

The Debunker Club has only been around for a few months. Already we are making a difference! We must always be vigilant!

Onward! Thank you!


One never knows what might happen when he/she declares something to the world and asks for volunteers. In May, The Debunker Club raised the flag and declared June 2015 to be DEBUNK LEARNING STYLES MONTH. With only a few days left in our first such effort, we've seen many tweets, much cheer leading, and likely many personal reflections. We've also got members and others to post their myth-busting efforts on blogs, LinkedIn, Scoop It, Pinterest, etc.

Here's a short list (THANKS TO THE DEBUNKERS!):

If you've seen other debunking efforts, please post here (in the COMMENTS below), AND at our sightings page.




The Debunker Club is about two months old and already hundreds of people have become members from all around the world (every continent but Antarctica)!

We’ve got teachers, university professors, trainers, instructional designers, consultants, researchers, and learning executives.

We’ve got a roughly 50-50 split between the genders.

The vast majority of members have been in the learning field for a long time, with about 40% reporting to have over two decades of experience.

Instructional designers are the most prolific representatives with about 60% of folks listing themselves as instructional designers.

To see why these folks joined, check out our Why-I-Joined page.

The data is below, first in a chart and then in percentages.





The Debunker Club's April Fool's Week 2015 is dedicated to debunking the myth that "people remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, etc. (and variants thereof) AND the bastardizations of Dale's Cone of Experience that also utilize these percentages.

These myths have been debunked. You can read some of the debunking here:

This Webpage will collect the April-Fool's-Week Debunking efforts for 2015. See the instructions here.

Post your debunking efforts here, using the comment function.

Remember to be respectful!

The Debunker Club sponsored — as an experiment — an April Fool’s Week in 2015 with the idea of taking aim at one of the most ubiquitous pieces of information in the learning field–the bogus percent-remembering numbers and the corruptions of Dale’s Cone.

During the first week in April, 2015, we attempted to rally members of The Debunker Club, and members of the public, to seek examples of the false information and inform the conveyors of that information that they are polluting the field with bad information.


April 7th, 2015:

For reasons we are investigating, the April-Fool’s-Week experiment did not energize much debunking activity. We are looking into “lessons learned” and will generate additional efforts to help squash debilitating learning myths and misinformation in the future.

If you were a member of the Debunker Club during the first week of April 2015, please complete our “lessons learned” survey.



Previous Instructions (April Fool’s Week is Now Concluded)

Let me start off with a personal confession. Part of me — the adolescent boy I once was — would like to completely embarrass and shame people who are propagating bad information. WE MUST RESIST this juicy temptation. Why? Because assholes rarely persuade!

April Fool’s Week is designed to highlight specific instances of bad information — but also to shine a spotlight on the need for skepticism in our field.

To this end, here are our instructions:

  1. Seek out examples of bad information as it relates to the meme that “people remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, etc.” (or similar versions) AND concomitant bastardized versions of Dale’s Cone of Experience (the one’s with the percentages added!).
  2. Gently contact the purveyors of the misleading information and let them know that the information they are broadcasting does not have a basis in scientific research, and in fact, it sends many incorrect and harmful messages about how to design effective learning. Feel free to craft your own gentle and respectful correspondence. Consider making the following points:
    • The information you’re presenting, though it may appear to have scientific support, has been exhaustively researched and found to have no basis in science.
      • A journal article from the scientific journal Educational Technology details the research that shows there is no research backing for the information. (Subramony, D., Molenda, M., Betrus, A., and Thalheimer, W. (2014). The Mythical Retention Chart and the Corruption of Dale’s Cone of Experience. Educational Technology, Nov/Dec 2014, 54(6), 6-16.)
      • You can read a review of the article here:
      • You can also read about these issues here:
    • The information presented is likely to produce more harm than good, promoting poor learning designs and hurting learners.
      • While learning professionals might abstract some beneficial notions from the percentages portrayed in the misleading information — namely that encouraging realistic practice has benefits — there are numerous faulty concepts within the bogus percentages that can do real harm.
        • By having people think that there are benefits to seeing over hearing, or hearing over reading, we are sending completely wrong messages about how learning works.
        • By having people think that “collaborating, discussing, saying (etc.)” are useful learning constructs, we distort and confuse what is really important.
      • Most importantly, recent advances in learning science have really come together over the last two decades. The misleading information was first reported in 1914, with no research backing. It is better to follow the more recent findings than information that has no scientific basis.
        • See for example, the book Make it Stick…by Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel.
      • Let them know that you are representing a larger community of folks who are attempting to encourage the use of proven, scientifically-based learning factors in the learning field.
        • Provide them the website of The Debunker Club
        • Let them know you’ll be posting about their misleading information, send them the link to your post (or the webpage where it’s located), and ask them to comment and respond to your post if they wish, because you (and the debunker community in general) want to learn how other people feel about the issues and ideas surrounding the original information and the debunking work as well.
  3. To Increase Your Persuasive Skills, Read the Following Quick Research Review
  4. Post each of your debunking efforts at the April Fool’s Week 2015 webpage.
    • [website address removed because it is no longer relevant].
  5. Earning a Badge. For those interested, if you’ve successfully communicated and posted your debunking efforts to SEVEN or more purveyors of bad information, contact Will Thalheimer ( to obtain your Cone-Debunker badge. A special shout-out will go to those who make extraordinary efforts, as well!!
  6. Remember, listen just as much as you convey, and post any insights you gain on the April-Fool’s Week 2015 webpage as well.
    • Look for the benefits the purveyor sees in the information they’ve presented.
    • Look for perspectives that you (or we) might not have considered.
    • Look for insights or research-needs that research has yet to uncover.
  7. Be respectful in all your communications!
  8. Thank you! Thank you for making a special effort to help encourage the use of evidence-based practices in the learning field!
  9. Remember! Reaching out to seven purveyors of misinformation is only one per day!