Edgar Dale's Cone of Experience
(April 27, 1900 in Benson, Minnesota, – March 8, 1985 in Columbus, Ohio)
was an American educationist who developed the Cone of Experience. He made several contributions to audio and visual instruction, including a methodology for analyzing the content of motion pictures. Born and raised in North Dakota he received a B.A. and M.A. from the University of North Dakota and a Ph.D from the University of Chicago. He was a professor of education at Ohio State University.
"The Cone of Experience"
The Cone was originally developed by Edgar Dale in 1946 and was intended as a way to describe various learning experiences. The diagram presented to the side is a modification of Dale’s original Cone; the percentages given relate to how much people remember and is a recent modification.
Essentially, the Cone shows the progression of experiences from the most concrete (at the bottom of the cone) to the most abstract (at the top of the cone). It is important to note that Dale never intended the Cone to depict a value judgment of experiences; in other words, his argument was not that more concrete experiences were better than more abstract ones. Dale believed that any and all of the approaches could and should be used, depending on the needs of the learner.
Dale's "Cone of Experience," which he intended to provide an intuitive model of the concreteness of various kinds of audio-visual media, has been widely misrepresented. Often referred to as the "Cone of Learning," it purports to inform viewers of how much people remember based on how they encounter information. However, Dale included no numbers and did not base his cone on scientific research, and he also warned readers not to take the cone too seriously. The numbers may have originated as early as the 1940s, when a scholar at the University of Texas at Austin created visual aids for the military.