“She works on learning and technology
in a way that is creative, concrete and quirky”

Harold Stolovitch at ISPI-San Diego

We were thrilled to welcome Harold Stolovitch and Erica Keeps, plus some of their friends from Orange County and Quebec, to San Diego on February 16, 2012.

Harold, who calls himself a technologist because he applies evidence-based knowledge to practical problems, did just that for us. At the get-go, he got a big laugh by defining himself as somebody who “vulgarizes science,” which after some back and forth in French boils down to making science useful.

Heck of good idea.

Harold Stolovitch reviewed a few of his favorite myths:

He asked us to decide if IQ really matters in workplace learning and performance. As it turns out, after exhaustive review, Harold and many others acknowledge that intelligence does matter. Very much so and in every job setting it is a great predictor of job success.

How about that right brain/left brain stuff? Here, the science says NAY. Humans love dualities. We love to sort. We love categories, but the literature is clear on this one.

What about learning styles? Surely some of us learn better with our taste buds (I added that) or our hands? Harold and others (see recent Guy Wallace piece) are clear on this. No proof. Not yet. The recommendation: use multiple stimuli in your strategies.

Harold continued to expose myths. My favorite riff was his discussion of the power of incentives, where he took on Alfie Kohn and Daniel Pink. For more on that, see the Stolovitch, Clark and Condly paper (2001) published by ISPI. Next year, he and Erica will publish a book that pulls this research together.

Harold concluded with an ode to the battle against complacency. He said, “If you believe something is right and true, work to disprove it.”


  1. Science should be useful; and working with smart people usually makes oneself smarter.

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