About the Learning Pyramid

Although disputed, the source of the learning pyramid can be attributed to the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science as they explain as follows:

Thanks for your inquiry of NTL Institute. We are happy to respond to your inquiry about The Learning Pyramid. Yes, it was developed and used by NTL Institute at our Bethel, Maine campus in the early sixties when we were still part of the National Education Association's Adult Education Division. Yes, we believe it to be accurate - but no, we no any longer have - nor can we find - the original research that supports the numbers. We get many inquiries every month about this - and many, many people have searched for the original research and have come up empty handed. We know that in 1954 a similar pyramid with slightly different numbers appeared on p. 43 of a book called Audio-Visual Methods in Teaching, published by the Edgar Dale Dryden Press in New York. Yet the Learning Pyramid as such seems to have been modified and always has been attributed to NTL Institute.

To summarize the numbers (which sometimes get cited differently) learners retain approximately:
>>90% of what they learn when they teach someone else/use immediately.
>>75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.
>>50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
>>30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration.
>>20% of what they learn from audio-visual.
>>10% of what they learn when they've learned from reading.
>>5% of what they learn when they've learned from lecture.

Feel free to use the Learning Pyramid (below) as you wish without charge - and cite at the bottom - "NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science, 300 N. Lee Street, Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314. 1-800-777-5227."

NTL Institute's Learning Pyramid, adapted from p. 43 of a book called Audio-Visual Methods in Teaching, published by the Edgar Dale Dryden Press in New York

My thanks to Jim Troxel of Millennia Consulting, LLC for providing me with this correspondence. Jim had in turn found out from his student Teresa Rendleman, who made the enquiry directly to the NTL Institute and received the above response.


[Simon's home page]Simon Polovina
16 November 2011
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