Maximize continuing education opportunities before, during and after

Posted on in Education/Training

MaximizeContEd By: Dorothy de Souza Guedes, VGM Education You expect to learn – and retain – when you invest time and money in conferences and continuing education. But do you ever feel like the information just doesn’t stick? The attendance at all Heartland Conference 2015 sessions tallied just under 4,000 – that equates to 4,000 opportunities for member organizations to benefit from continuing education. But if you feel like you forget more than you remember, science agrees with you; blame it on the forgetting curve. Researchers have found:

  • within an hour of training, on average people will have forgotten 50 percent of the information presented;
  • within 24 hours, that increases to 70 percent forgotten; and
  • within a week, 90 percent has been forgotten.
If the information learned is so quickly forgotten, what’s the likelihood of it positively affecting your organization? Professor, psychologist and e-learning expert Art Kohn discusses what he calls booster learning as a way to signal the brain to retain important information by forcing learners to recall information within the hours, days and weeks following training. His 2+2+2 strategy boosts learning at intervals of two days, two weeks and two months. Kohn stresses that booster don’t have to be lengthy, but simply need to trigger the learner to remember bits of detail. You can adapt Kohn’s strategy to your training needs. By developing a plan for not only learning but also retaining and sharing conference session information, you can maximize your education dollars. There is plenty of time to put your plan into play for this fall’s Medtrade, for example. Before: Discuss an action plan detailing what information is most needed by your organization. When a conference’s schedule is posted, review seminars and make a schedule. Be prepared with questions for speakers. Plan how the information will be shared with your organization upon your return. During: Rather than passively sitting in a session, selectively take notes highlighting information most useful to your organization. Within 24 hours – before you’ll likely lose half of what you’ve learned -- email notes to someone in your office. Then email yourself a few short questions about what you learned. Most speakers will provide printed or digital handouts highlighting the key points of a presentation; make sure you save a copy. After: Use it or lose it. Forcing yourself to recall and share information soon after the conference will make it more likely that you will use session education at work. Remember the question you emailed to yourself? Within two days, answer them. To enhance your retention and benefit others, give short presentations on sessions at a staff meeting within two weeks. Both the quiz and the presentations will boost your ability to retain. Prepare short questions asking how the information learned applies on the job. For even longer term retention, Kohn suggested a third booster within two months. Answer your questions about applying the information at work. To benefit staff, share the best of the session handouts with staff tasked with training. Hold internal training sessions that include examples of how the information is relevant to various staff within your organization. Then use Kohn’s 2+2+2 strategy for short follow-up boosters within two days, two weeks, and two months to enhance staff retention. Sources:Forgetting: How and Why Memory Fails,” Kendra Cherry, About Education “Brain Science: The Forgetting Curve – the Dirty Secret of Corporate Training,” Art Kohn, Learning Solutions Magazine “Brain Science: Overcoming the Forgetting Curve,” Art Kohn, Learning Solutions Magazine “Brain Science: Enable Your Brain to Remember Almost Everything,” Art Kohn, Learning Solutions Magazine