Dead Ideas

Matt Miller’s book, The Tyranny of Dead Ideas, is a great book in framing my thinking about the world. His thesis, framed in both politics and economics, are “dead ideas” hold us hostage. His dead ideas are: our kids will earn ore than we do; free trade is “good” no matter who gets hurt; your company should take care of you; taxes hurt the economy and they’re always too high; schools are a local matter and money follows merit. (Miller, pp 8-9) I’ll leave it others to debate these dead ideas but think of dead ideas from our nation’s past – an economy based upon slavery is moral and that a great democracy can exclude women as voters.

When reading I like to identify what appear to be dead ideas. In the September 13 Bloomberg Businessweek, Out of Work, Not out of Oomph, author Diane Brady questions the long held belief that the impact of long term unemployment may be overstated. The premise is that depression and physical ailments impacts mortality. This research dates back to the 70s and 80s. Brady also questions whether skills erode so quickly. Maybe in some narrow technical fields but with access to blogs, social networks, perhaps not so much. My belief is that social media and the ability to virtually network counter this dead idea. When not engaged in project work in my business, I’m active in professional associations and continuing to develop skills while participating in discussions and other online activities like the eLearning Guild’s Online Forums. For me, it’s important to maintain skill, engagement with my profession and network. With social media, the cost barriers are very low.

So in learning, are learning styles a dead idea?

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