The Beginner’s Guide To The Learning Pyramid

Different teaching styles appeal to different types of students. Despite popular opinion, I know folks who do really well with lecture-based courses. Perhaps they’re just really well adapted to how most of our educational system works. Or perhaps they’re just some of the few who do really well with that instead of a more hands-on approach. Most studies show that more learning happens with hands-on approaches, and the handy infographic below addresses that concept. It shows learning as a pyramid, with the least amount of retention on top, and the most on the bottom. Do you agree with these numbers? Which of these teaching methods do you most often use? Weigh in by leaving a comment below, mentioning @Edudemic on Twitter or leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page.

The Learning Pyramid

  • Lecture – 5%
  • Reading – 10%
  • A/V 20%
  • Demonstration 30%
  • Group Discussion 50%
  • Practice by doing 75%
  • Teach others 90%




  1. James Rolle

    May 12, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Can you point to the research that actually shows this?

    • SAH

      May 14, 2014 at 9:24 am

      Good Luck. NTL in Maine is a “T-Group” provider to industry, probably not an unbiased source, plus couldn’t find any direct references to research on their website. Caveat Emptor

  2. sanford Arbogast

    May 14, 2014 at 11:53 am

    @ James Rolie
    There is no research. the pyramid was created in the 40’s to show a point and people have been using it incorrectly ever since.

  3. robert olsson

    May 19, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Hi Peter,
    I would say a combination of all stratifications of this pyramid is how learning takes place chez-moi. All the weight of retention seems to occur more by practice and hands-on experience, than by the ‘more cerebral’ theoretical methods at the upper rungs. Not to say that those upper stratifications are un-important, especially to fill out, enhance and expand what knows as his retention. I think there is something to said about doing something with one’s hand providing a tactual bonding on a neurological level. A musician, for example, does not think about the notes just played, the sequence is inherit in his fingers through practice.