What’s Dale’s Cone and Why Should You Care?

No matter what business, effective communication and content retention are critical components of our day-to-day operations and expectations. Distractions in the workplace, technology, and work-life balance often impact the amount of time others are willing to dedicate to what we have to say or what we have to teach. In a recent study conducted by Microsoft, the average adult attention span is charted at 8 seconds while other studies and experts claim it can be as long 30 minutes. The bottom line is that we have a short window within which to convey content.

While there is dispute among experts as to how accurate Edgar Dale was with the assessment of percentages in the graphic below, many support the visual itself. Most importantly, Dale shows us that the more senses stimulated, the more remembered.

This is Dale’s Cone of Experience (also known as The Learning Cone):

This model is highly applicable to all disciplines in business. In learning and development, we have seen an incredible shift from primarily text-based learning guided by an instructor, to learning platforms that focus on what the learner is using to live and play, i.e. mobile devices and virtual reality.

SOURCE: Bersin by Deloitte

In sales, we have moved from the sales meeting to group video calls and prospecting with videos that pop up in your inbox. And marketing, has led the way when it comes to making attempts to fully utilize the customers’ senses with video-based ads, user generated content, and in-store or in-home experiences.

In conclusion, whatever model you subscribe to, in almost all cases scientists have proved that people retain more information and for longer periods of time when the content is seen, heard, and/or positioned to create a physical or emotional reaction. Video helps you to make those connections and in doing so you can more effectively get your message to your audience.