So, I just got out of the repeat of Ruth Clark‘s presentation called Beyond Fads, Fables, & Folklore. Mark went to the session yesterday and already blogged on it. So, I thought I’d referee the debate between the two of them. Of course, right now it’s not much of a debate since she hasn’t had a chance to respond, but that won’t stop me. So, without further ado, here’s a summary of Mark’s major points and my thoughts on who wins that side of the debate:

1. It’s ironic that Ruth’s presenting herself as unbiased when she has stuff to sell.

Truly, everybody has biases and everybody has something to sell (in one way or another). It’s impossible to eliminate bias or not sell anything when presenting. By nature, every presentation has bias and every presentation is selling something. However, I think where Ruth went wrong is both implying that scientific methods make the results unbiased and by continuously pushing her books. Nearly every point either started or ended with “and this can be found in this book I wrote”. I probably am going to buy one of those books of particular interest, but still…this round goes to Mark.

2. Face to Face v. E-Learning Debate is not a valid question.

It’s not about one or the other. In fact, most topics shouldn’t be one or the other. Between pre-work, in class work, on the job practice, mentoring, etc…good learning happens over time in a variety of ways. Why are we even talking about this? It’s the wrong question. This one goes to Mark.

3. Much of this research is obvious.

Sadly, a lot of people in the room didn’t know that visuals improve learning or that the selection/use of visuals matter. A lot of people didn’t know that learning design matters. I hate to say it (and it makes me sad to do so), but despite the things that seem intuitive to some, people are still struggling (as evidenced by their votes on what was good during the session) with these basic concepts. People clearly still need to hear the research. These aren’t the interesting questions, but clearly they still need to be answered for many. This round goes to Ruth.

So, where does that leave us? 2 for Mark, 1 for Ruth. This debate goes to Mark. I’d love to see a face-to-face rematch!