Chicago Regional Wrap-Up


I had the opportunity to attend SCCE’s Chicago Regional meeting last Friday. My desire to attend the meeting was twofold: I wanted to see what a regional meeting was like, and I wanted to connect with more of our members. I can easily say that both goals were met. I can also say that I learned some very interesting and valuable information, that has nothing to do with compliance, at least not directly.

In an afternoon session, Mike Carder spoke about adult learning and training programs. In this session, I was fascinated to learn that in order to get an adult to retain information you need to repeat that information a minimum of 7 times. Seven. My dog only needs to hear it three times (this, the same dog that eats Q-tips), but you and I need to hear it s-e-v-e-n times to truly retain it. Now, take that and think about your compliance program. Does having your organization click-through online training once a year still seem like it’s enough?

Mike also had a great list of tips on how to keep your trainees engaged:

  • Discussion is better than lecture
    • Use small groups
    • Ask probing questions and facilitate conversation
    • Have attendees answer each other’s questions – they can learn more this way than from the teacher
  • Repetition is the mother of learning
    • Adults need information repeated a minimum of 7 times to retain it – repeating it 21(!) times is ideal
  • Concise is better than lengthy
    • Break up the information every 10-15 minutes
    • Tell a personal story
    • Show a video
    • Have participants get up and move
  • Motion is better than still
    • Science says that getting your blood pumping helps increase retention
    • Have participants role-play
    • Ask your groups to write on a flip-chart
  • Out of the ordinary is better than boring
    • Strike an emotional chord with your listeners
    • Use humor – everyone loves to laugh
    • Challenge your learners – a little conflict can be a good thing
  • Less is better than more
    • The fewer PowerPoint slides you have the better
    • It’s even better if those few slides have minimal text
  • Use pictures, charts, and graphs – they grab and hold attention
  • Questions are better than saying smart things
    • As a teacher, learn to wait for an answer (as excruciating as it may be)
    • If a learner gives a wrong answer, dive deeper – ask why and how they came to that conclusion
    • Be genuinely curious

And, finally, finish by reviewing the main points. It never hurts to repeat the good stuff.