Enthusiasm

Not the extroverted, loud type, or the overly talkative type that appears to look like enthusiasm. It’s the passionate and excited type.

The #1 factor of engagement is an enthusiastic teacher.

Enthusiasm=Engagement

All the productive conversations about interactive and peer to peer learning likely won’t get as far if there aren’t enthusiastic teachers/leaders involved, enhancing participation and seeing people where they are.

What do you think?

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Who do you want to be?

We can ask healthcare providers what they need to learn – and educators are asking this question often. The interesting part is we often get what people want to learn, not necessarily what they need to learn. Sometimes, they aren’t even sure.

The Missing Question

There are tons of evaluation/survey questions asking about what you want to learn or what topics you find interesting.

However, what if you included, “who do you want to be?”

If this is too existential for learners, you can ask what they hope to accomplish in 1 (or 5) years and look at their goals.

I wonder what types of answers you’d start getting with this one change. If we want better answers, we need to ask better questions.

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Bad Weather

It’s always a concern when planning a conference that speakers will get stuck flying in. Interestingly, sometimes it can be equally challenging flying out!

Several years ago, we were holding an Annual conference and two speakers flew in without issues – unfortunately, their flights to get out were cancelled.

Terrible weather was hitting the East Coast and there were no flights. We were two-thirds through our conference when a small group started diligently working on how to get people back home. Two kind and patient gentlemen might be stuck in Connecticut for some time…

One speaker was flying back to DC and we were able to find the best Amtrack schedule to get him there before his next presentation at 7am the following day…with a few hours of sleep to spare and some recommendations for pizza in New Haven, CT. This apparently was the easy the case.

Who knew how challenging it can be to fly out (and back in) of Arkansas? Well apparently, it was quicker to drive there than wait for another flight. After driving from CT to Philadelphia only to find out the flights were cancelled there too and then fully booked because everyone else was trying to get out too – he decided to drive back to AR.

It was a bit of a nightmare for them. We haven’t dared asked either to come back yet – maybe we’ll plan a webinar 🙂

We all have our own horror stories – I’d love to hear about your favorite.

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Choose Who You Write For

I was talking with someone a few days ago who was building a new product to help people with retirement planning. I asked, “who’s it for,” and the response was “everyone.” Gasp!

There are over 7.5 billion people it the world – the product can’t possibly be for everyone.

Too often we approach the outreach to learners in a similar way. You may have an email list of 500, 5,000, or 50,000. Who you send your marketing email to, is a choice you have.

The cool thing about technology, especially email marketing services, is you can segment your audience…and you should. Using the segmentation and email management features will certainly help you. If you have a home grown product, ask IT if it is already an option.

People have a limited amount of time and when they read emails from you that are not applicable, they unsubscribe or stop reading altogether. You may have heard the worst medication for a patient is the one they aren’t taking. Well, the worst email for your company is the one your audience isn’t reading.

To zoom in a bit more – your email list might include practitioners from different care settings (e.g. hospital, community, long term care, etc.). Each of these learners has a slightly different focus and interest level in what they are learning. Making that assumption, you can create “tags” or separate audiences to better segment your email list and send content that people are interested in reading.

Also worth noting: There are a many people who are already in a niche environment and might think – cool – but not for me. However, there’s typically a way to further breakdown the list. For example, if you create content for hospitals, you can add tags for IT, oncology, ED, administration, etc. etc.

Be creative. Try a segmented list and see what the response is. You get to choose.

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The Cost of Accreditation

Accreditation is a necessary part of education programs. For an educational organization to provide learning to healthcare professionals, the course/class has to be accredited.

But wait, in reality – providing education does not require accreditation. However, getting a Nurse or Pharmacist to take the course, accreditation is a piece learners are looking for.

For an educator to provide accredited courses, they will need to meet standards created and monitored by their respective accrediting organization.

For Pharmacy, accreditation is set through the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education (ACPE); Nursing is through American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) [or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)]; there is also a joint accreditation option through Joint Accreditation – Interprofessional Continuing Education, which offers accreditation for CME, CNE, and CPE – and recently has added the option to include PAs, Social Workers, Optometrists, and Psychologists.

To give you an idea of the costs for accreditation, here are a couple of tables:

Pharmacy:

Nursing (annual fees):

Joint Accreditation:


Zooming in on Pharmacy, the annual fee is dependent on how many credits you offer and how many learners you have within those learning activities.

Zooming way in – ESU is calculated by taking the number of continuing education units (CEUs) of a CPE activity multiplied by the number of participants receiving an ACPE statement of credit or certificate for that activity. Adding the total ESU of all your programs puts educators in a specific level, which decides the annual fee.

When deciding to get accredited, there are many pieces to weigh/factor in. Mostly, it comes down to how many courses are you offering per year and how many learners do you anticipate attending (not including administrative and IT components needed to meet ACPE requirements). From there you can decide if the cost of accreditation is affordable or is it less expensive to get your program accredited individually through another organization – with corresponding fees.

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An Artful Gathering

A big part of healthcare education are the live conferences. A place for like-minded people to convene, connect, and learn from each other.

There’s a great book to read on this topic – The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker.

Some of the key concepts from the book are:

  1. Embrace a specific disputable purpose
  2. Cause good controversy
  3. Create a temporary alternative world through the use of pop-up rules

The first item cannot be stressed enough – creating a purpose for the gathering. A few ideas to help you are – drill down why you are meeting – utilize the 5 whys; ask your group – “what problem might it solve?”; and start with the desired outcome (similar to Steven Covey’s Begin With the End in Mind).

Happy Gathering!

Additional Resources (with Priya Parker):

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What’s a Needs Assessment?

Knowing what your audience needs to learn (or wants to learn) is an important first step in creating content. In the world of healthcare education, it is also a required component for any education you create. While this topic may appear dull at first, there is a simple reframe for it – you get to connect with your learners, hear what they need to learn and you build trust by continuing to listen to them and create education they are looking for.

The two most common forms of needs assessment we see are the Annual needs assessment survey and a post-course evaluation, which includes a question on what topics learners would like. These are also known as verbalized needs.

Needs can also be identified by looking at gaps in care when reviewing recent research or reading literature from different National Organizations (e.g. CDC, AHRQ, etc.).

However, there is a gap in the data you are collecting, especially with verbalized needs. People do not always know what they want. Typically, you are interrupting learners to get their feedback or adding it into an evaluation – the problem is that you are asking at one point in time. Often, they skip the section on the survey asking what topics they want to learn more about.

How can you connect with learners when they don’t tell you what they want to learn? First, you start with people who are telling you. Second, at a live conference you spend time talking with attendees about the sessions and listen to their responses – it’s a good indication of a needs assessment as you’ll get.

A good needs assessment looks at where the learner is and where they want to go. One of the roles of an educator is to help them meet their professional development goals. Not only will taking the time to ask deeper questions help you identify more engaging and meaningful content but you’ll also build a stronger connection to your audience by seeking enrollment.

Listening, asking better questions, and providing a survey that isn’t an interruption – start with these three tools and you’ll be on your way to developing more meaningful education.

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Marketing: What I’ve Learned…so far

I hope you enjoy a slight variation in today’s blog post. Here are some thoughts on a recent Workshop I participated in.

January 2019

In January 2019, I started an epic marathon and just last week, I finished it. Phew!

Not too bad for my first marathon – but it wasn’t running, it was The Marketing Seminar (TMS), an Akimbo Workshop, created by Seth Godin and happened to be my 4th Akimbo Workshop within one year.

This iteration happened to be the sixth offering of TMS and followed the release of This is Marketing, Seth’s 19th (best-selling) book.

It includes 60 deep, thought provoking lessons. And I signed up on purpose!

Part of my celebration is to write this post, as gently nudged by my (new) partners in crime, Staci Boden and Dave Bates – two wonderfully kind and generous people.

Without further ado…here are my thoughts on Marketing.

Marketing in the 21st Century focuses on making change happen. To do this, you need to know what change you seek to make.

The key questions to start with (always):

  • Who’s it for?
  • What’s it for?
  • What change are you seeking to make?

To clarify what your position is, you’ll need to have answers to these questions. Zooming in to the smallest viable audience is typically a great place to start.

Marketing is more than SEO or short advertisement focused emails. These are all too common and often many people gravitate to them – the shortfall is that they steal attention and time – two resources that are in short supply.

So if it isn’t SEO, what is Marketing consist of? It is earning trust, seeking enrollment, creating tension, showing up consistently, and bringing the generosity. Combined with learning more about these themes, TMS provided an opportunity to add clarity to my project. (This website was created and designed while in the second half of the Workshop, again nudged by friends in the Workshop.)

Adding clarity to one’s own project is one of the most profound aspects of TMS. Interestingly enough, I went in with one idea and it evolved to something better. Better in terms of the change I seek to make. We learn to make things better by making better things.

In big part, the design of the learning space (or container) is what stands out. As an educator, here are some critical components:

  • Quality of the lessons (trust in Seth Godin as a teacher/leader in Marketing)
  • Cadence of the lessons dropping (they do not all come out at once)
  • Format of promoting participation – both to find the others and to work with people outside of your specific industry
  • Posture of the Coaches and students (and Remarkables)

The questions themselves helped create new ideas but the power of the Workshop is the cohort – the peer to peer participation and connection that helps us make significant progress. It’s a community of like-minded people.

People like us, do things like this.

-Seth Godin

July 2019

It was an amazing seven months – 200 days – and I’m grateful for all the great people I was fortunate to meet and learn from. Thank you!

Stay tuned for a new education Podcast and come back for more posts here.

I’m looking forward to being part of future Akimbo Workshops. I’d love to see you there and I cannot wait to meet you.

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Adaptive Learning

When many of us took licensing exams, we experienced “adaptive testing” or CAT – computerized adaptive testing. While we answered questions, the algorithms in the test would change the questions based on our responses.

While CAT has been used for well over a decade, the use of adaptive learning (or adaptive teaching) has gained popularity in the last 5-10 years. Similar to testing, the AI/algorithms will adapt to the strengths and weaknesses of the learner, based on mastery and knowledge of the content.

(A quick side note: A recent episode of Akimbo by Seth Godin talked about Systems Thinking – and how we can learn about the systems available in our industry and how to use them effectively)

A specific framework used is ALGAE (Adaptive Learning for GAme dEsign). This concept uses a mixture of game design, adaptive learning and instructional/teaching models to enhance learning.

If you’re interested in adaptive learning, here are some additional resources:

Happy Learning!

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Collaborating is Key

Zero-sum games are what some companies believe is true as they try to take hold of the market. However, it is for our collective benefit to work together to create a better version of what we have.

You could be part of a learning group sharing ideas of best practices and helping each other build a solid program. Or you could be part of a group collaborating with other organizations to put on a conference.

So whether it is between pharmacy organizations or equally valuable – between disciplines, the different way forward is together.

When we help each other move forward, everyone reaps the benefits of the new and improved version of education.

Who can you collaborate with this year?

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