The Executive - September/October 2015 - (Page 12)
by Exploring the Learning
hink back to the last
conference you attended.
What did you learn?
insights and takeaways,
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
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
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
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
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
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
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: By Jim Anderson, CAE
AT A GLANCE
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
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?
DOLLARS & SENSE
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Kristine Van Winkle, CMP, CASE, CTE
INDEX TO ADVERTISERS
The Executive - September/October 2015