The Danger of Data (Even When It’s Accurate)
Posted by Ellen on January 6, 2012
You know I love data. You know I believe in the power it has to convince TPTB (The Powers That Be) in the need for elearning, for improved instructional design in face-to-face training, and all other related matters.
We worry a lot about getting our data wrong and about the dissemination of incorrect information. But when’s the last time you worried that accurate data could lead you — or your association leaders or your members or your other constituents — in the wrong direction?
Yes, it’s possible.
Here’s a perfect example, courtesy of Mark Twain:
“In the space of 176 years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself 242 miles. Therefore… in the Old Silurian Period, the Mississippi River was upward of one million three hundred thousand miles long and … 742 years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long…. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesome returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”
Moral of Mr. Twain’s story? Use facts and data wisely.
If you’re projecting the results of something, project something that’s realistic. If you’re drawing a causal relationship to examine what might have caused X, Y or Z to have happened, then do so logically.
Accurate data, wielded irresponsibly, could be more disastrous than not having data at all. Remember that.
This entry was posted on January 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm and is filed under aLearning Strategies, Justifying aLearning, Measuring Results. Tagged: aLearning, association, elearning strategy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.