This sally has a double-function. Firstly, I want to bring your attention to common learning myths and secondly, how you can use these myths to start diving into the world of research. Earlier, I wrote about evidence-based and research-based HR work and how far we have come already. I still remember how hard it was for me (especially in the beginning) to embrace research papers. They were boring and I did not understand the lengthy parts about statistics which some of them entailed. Today, I am happy that I gave it a try. Because academia contributes a lot to the field of HR. There are great reviews on all kinds of areas within HR and also researcher challenges common beliefs and reveal myths. Learning more about how to read academic research give you the critical competence to be part of the discussion when other HR professionals call their practices research-based. Learning and development is an area where many professionals claim this. Unfortunately a lot of learning myths have nourished a questionable way of learning practice at school and in the workplace. It’s time to dig deeper into this.
It all started with a book. Urban Myths about Learning and Education by De Bruyckere, Kirschner and Hulshof. It was one of the best books combining theory and practice, or in this case learning research and practice, I have read so far. The authors investigate 35 common learning myths (e.g. “People have Different Styles of Learning” and “Today’s Digital Natives Are a New Generation Who Want a New Style of Education”), evaluate to which extend these are based on actual facts and give further resources for your own research.
In the beginning of your project to dig deeper into research, resources which describe research and combine them with practice are worth a million. Because first of all, somebody describes research finding in an easier way and by using different words. Furthermore somebody relates the findings to a context you can relate to. You don’t necessarily have to buy this book to find resources like this. There are several blogs and webpages (e.g. BPS Research Digest or your favorite newsreader) acting as research digest or research reviews. Also, usual newspapers often cite researchers or studies. Reading one of there posts covering one of your favorite topic is a solid ground for investigating your first research paper.
Let’s take a look at my Twitter timeline. “A new study shows millennials are no better at using technology than their parents” which is linked to this post. Sounds exactly like one of the myths from the book I mentioned earlier. Now you know at least the digested result of the study: “In other words, generations may have different habits and world views – but the way people learn won’t change so quickly.” Interested in how the original study looks like? There is a direct link to check the source. And we find the authors to be Mr. Kirschner and Mr. De Bruyckere – the authors of the book I mentioned above. You see, one benefit in starting to investigate research like this is that you can be sure you will be reading about a topic you care about and that you can relate to. That makes it easier to understand the study and find people to discuss it. However, in most cases, and also in this case, you have to purchase the study if you do not happen to have a student or corporate account for the platform Science Direct or a subscription for the journal the paper appeared in (“Teaching and Teacher Education”). On a sidenote: from my perspective high costs for research papers are one of the biggest hurdles for becoming more research-savy as a professional. Fortunately you know now that this paper could be worth spending money on. From my perspective, it’s a good paper to start your research journey today.