The Executive - September/October 2015 - (Page 12)

Advancing Associat by Exploring the Learning T hink back to the last conference you attended. What did you learn? Without key insights and takeaways, professional development investments are wasted. However, as more organizations offer continuing education both to support their strategic missions and to deliver business results, the threshold to meet or exceed the increasingly sophisticated expectations of attendees is changing. Learning is now characterized by not only the acquisition of knowledge or skills, but by the retention and application of knowledge or skills in the work setting. By the way, your association scores extra points when it clearly describes the business measures that will change or improve as a result of an education program or if a specific return on investment can be attributed to its implementation. Adult learners are a discerning and complex group. They are both pressed for time and goal-oriented. They bring with them previous knowledge and experience, but have a finite capacity for information. Moreover, adult learners have varied motivation levels, and learn best when presented with a number of different instructional strategies. Due to advances in neuroscience, brain research now reveals evidence-based strategies to guide effective learning experiences. Cognitive processing serves as the foundation for making new knowledge and skills stick. On its journey through sensory memory, shortterm (working) memory and finally long-term memory (consolidation), most stimuli succumb to memory loss. This is particularly true when opportunities for practice and reflection are not afforded to participants during education programs. Ultimately, knowledge or skills that adequately grab the attention of sensory memory pass through to working memory. The rehearsal of knowledge or skills during the program allows this information to then continue on to longterm memory for consolidation and storage. But that's not the end of the story. Failure to later retrieve and rehearse key insights and takeaways in the workplace 12 cause them to be lost from lack of use. According to Brain Rules, by John Medina, people usually forget 90 percent of what they learn within 30 days. However, if you understand how the brain learns and functions, you can greatly improve retention and application of new information. Following are seven of Medina's original 12 rules, with explanations for how they apply to association meetings. 1. The brain appears to be designed to solve problems. Encourage speakers to build and implement practice exercises that challenge learners. It's recommended that practice time comprise between 35 and 50 percent of most education sessions. Practice time includes practice activities, facilitator feedback and both pre- and post-assessments. 2. Move to improve your thinking skills. Develop opportunities throughout the program to get participants out of their seats and moving throughout the room or venue (e.g., breaks, meal functions). Additionally, ask speakers to consider flipcharts, manipulatives, networking and roleplaying as excuses to get people on their feet. 3. The biological drive for an afternoon nap is universal. The afternoon energy slump is real. It occurs between the hours of 2 and 3 p.m. Planners should avoid scheduling heavy topics during this time, and speakers should design curricula full of engagement and interaction when asked to speak Ca lSAE's T HE E XEC U T IV E - SE P T E M B E R/ O C TO BE R 2 0 1 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Executive - September/October 2015

Thinking and Acting Beyond Orthodoxy
Advancing Association Meetings by Exploring the Learning Brain
10 Transformative Meetings Technology Trends
From Data to Decision: Facilitating a Critical Thinking Discussion
Is it Time for an Event Sponsorships Makeover?
ADVANCING Associations

The Executive - September/October 2015