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The L&D Forum

L&D and pop psychology

L&D and pop psychology

In this week’s GoodPractice podcast Sukh Pabial joins Owen Ferguson and Ross Garner to discuss ‘What impact has psychology had on L&D?’

With a degree and keen interest psychology this piqued my interest somewhat, especially confronted with such an array of ‘pseudo psychology’ in the learning arena. So, what is ‘real’ psychology and what is ‘pop’ psychology?  What is the history of psychology and how has this impacted on L&D? What insights can psychology give us in L&D today? Is L&D too stuck on ‘learning’, and do we actually have to learn to change behaviour?

Listen here to the podcast to hear these questions being discussed and more.

For anyone who has either doubted the validity of some of the psychology based principles freely rolled out as ‘fact’, or maybe in contrast rely on psychological ‘facts’ to design and deliver learning and behavioural change programmes, this is well worth a listen.  The discussion around whether learning even has to take place for behavioural change to occur is revealing and challenges the relationship of learning and L&D as we know it.

What are your thoughts on the use of the use of the principles of psychology in L&D?

Are you confident of the reliability and validity of the psychological principles you use?

What should the relationship between L&D and psychology be?

Should we in L&D be thinking beyond ‘learning’?


Add your comments below and join in the debate.


Some related resources referred to in the podcast can be found here:



And this article provides a positive take on the ways in which psychology can in fact enhance L&D:


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  • Thanks Sukh, yes the podcast definitely gave me lots to think about, and as you say there is still much to discuss around this topic.  I think its great to question and challenge things as a way of expanding views (and dare I say learning!)  and I look forward to being part of this conversation as it develops.  Regards sharing any more recent models or theories relating to this, please do feel free to share them with us here.

  • Thank you for listening and sharing your thoughts here, Kathryn! It's good to know the content is helping to create some thinking and dialogue on the topic. I really appreciate how good the Good Practice podcast is and being part of it this week.

    There is still plenty to discuss and more to explore in this area. Particularly sharing recent models and theories that help us really understand "learning" so much better and the fine line of "performance" in what we do.
  • Just came across this, another interesting read on this subject, thanks Ady.


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