The other week I wrote about morals and ethics of L&D models and interventions we choose to use. It’s an interesting one because many practitioners are wedded to their preferred models, theories, etc.
In truth, I can be too. I find it increasingly hard to justify using MBTI as a tool because it doesn’t seem to have good reliability as a tool – that is, if you were retested on the tool there’s no guarantee it wouldn’t give you different results. That’s just not helpful.
Decades ago, asbestos was used as a building material for its resilience and fire proof qualities. It was such a good material for use in buildings that everyone used it. No-one doubted that it shouldn’t be used.
Until people started falling unexplicably ill. So ill in fact it caused life long health problems with breathing, and in many cases, death.
For literally, decades, no one knew such a robust and resilient building material was so dangerous to human life. So they banned it as a material and we’re still having to deal with the fallout of its use in buildings across the world.
What we thought was good and useful insight was deeply flawed. We wouldn’t, in good conscience, ever use asbestos when constructing a building ever again.
Learning Styles, NLP and MBTI are the L&D equivalent of asbestos.
They are all deeply flawed theories and models. Regardless that practitioners may respond that their clients report healthy insights and useful outcomes, these are still flawed. Insight from a flawed basis isn’t what we should be trying to defend.
I’ve personally moved away from these models and theories because I have no faith in their construction as tools, their validity for personal development, or their relevance in learning solutions. I will actively choose to not include these when designing learning solutions.
Which is why in recent years I’ve invested a huge amount of time and energy into learning about other models and theories where I can be confident that they have a solid research base. Approaches like emotional intelligence, positive psychology, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, behavioural economics, adult learning theories, all provide much more relevant ways to design learning solutions.
It’s a tough one. And it’s hard to argue a right and wrong. Am I right in my assertions? For some people I will be. Am I challenging many practitioners in what they do and how they do it? Yes, that’s what I’m doing. Am I wrong? Quite possibly, and I’m really hoping to have a good and healthy debate about this.