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cognitive bias in learning

Cognitive Bias Cards For Learning Practitioners

What do you do when your mental shortcuts fail?

In order to cope with a constant barrage of information, we develop the coping mechanism of subconscious mental shortcuts so we can make all the quick decisions needed to navigate our daily lives.

These mental shortcuts are called heuristicsHeuristics are essentially the brain’s way of automating repetitive tasks/decisions. There are rules in place these automated systems follow, and as long as the rules aren't broken you'll have a positive outcome. But, automated systems don’t handle exceptions to the rules very well. When those exceptions break the rules, the errors are cognitive biases.

Put simply, a cognitive bias is an error in the way we think. Cognitive biases result when the coping mechanisms we use to make daily decisions fail in the face of an enormous amount of information. For those of us in Learning & Development, cognitive biases are important to understand in ourselves and others. Only then can we work with them, and against them, by trying to mitigate the harmful biases with the helpful biases.

There are nearly 188 identified cognitive biases. We are highlighting 40 of them in this set of Cognitive Bias Cards that are particularly applicable to L&D practitioners. Download them, print them, and use them.

With these cards: 

  • Learn about biases as they apply to the four learning goals on performance improvement, retention/recall, problem solving/critical thinking, and behavior change
  • Learn how to identify and address them
  • Mix and match cognitive biases that negatively impact learning with mitigating biases.