Keep Asking Questions

Every day, I hope to keep learning and keep asking questions.

Learning is the easy part – you can learn about yourself, a colleague, quite literally – anything new. That’s learning.

Asking questions – good questions, is a little more challenging. It takes curiosity, being present, and empathy. Add in a little IQ, EQ, and BQ (body intelligence), and you’re on our way.

Here is a list of my (current) favorite questions:

“What’s the ONE Thing you can do this week such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?”

Gary Keller, from The One Thing

“What would this look like if it were easy?”

Tim Ferriss

“If you are saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?”

Michael Bungay Stanier, from The Coaching Habit

“Who’s it for? What’s it for? What is the change you seek to make?”

Seth Godin

OK, this last one, I included three – but they are each very powerful and could stand on their own.

“What do you think?”

Tom Peters, from The Excellence Dividend

“What problem are you solving?”

“Is this actually useful?”

“Will this change behavior?”

Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, from Rework

I’m sure there are many more questions we can add into our toolbox. For now, these will get you started and on your way to creating more meaningful…anything.

Keep asking questions – KAQ.

Here are links to books mentioned in this post:

The One Thing

The Coaching Habit

Rework

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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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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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What’s Your Learning Style?

Auditory, visual, hands-on? These are a few learning styles you gravitate towards.

In an interesting TedX linked below, it’s possible personal preference for learning styles is not as significant for learning as originally thought.

It is worth thinking about what we are teaching and the best medium to share it.

When learning a new language, reading will have minimal benefit – we must practice. Similarly, seeing a mechanism of action for a medication – an animated or picture explanation of it, is much more useful than only reading about it in text.

When creating a presentation, in PowerPoint or otherwise, being mindful of what is taught and the medium – listening, seeing, or hand-on – will help learners better connect with what you are teaching.

TedX Talk on Learning Styles

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Diversifying Our Education

If I were to venture a guess, most continuing education (CE) is likely to be in written form and live didactic presentations.

The CE system creates a clear structure and these two mediums are at the forefront of our education.

However, there are a few other formats. For pharmacists, there are application and practice based courses, which are more hands on and interactive. A practice based CE is typically at least 15 hours and often referred to as a certificate program.

But wait – there’s more! You can also find home studies, which could be written, audio, or voice over powerpoint presentations. Under home study, you can also find podcasts.

The tricky part is that when you ask your audience which of these they prefer, you’ll get a wide range of responses. Some of these are mandatory and people will say they want to do them, despite the fact that they aren’t excited about it and would enjoy another way to do it.

As educators, it is important to know which medium to use for what type of course you are teaching. Some are better written or listening on your own schedule, while some would be better seeing visually and working through case studies with your peers. When in doubt – ask them!

Either way, a good mix of courses will provide learners to enjoy the type of learning they are looking for.

What type of education does your audience prefer? Please let me know in the comments.

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Accountable Learning

ac·count·a·bil·i·ty – a buzz word that often is used as a punitive measure. “We need to keep people accountable.”

However, accountable can be distilled to being responsible for something. As educators, we are responsible for what someone will learn.

That’s where accountable learning comes in. Where the education provider offers additional learning opportunities at different time points AFTER the conference or program. These touch points provide takeaways and a check-in to verify learners have maximized what should be learned from the program and to double check how the learner can better apply the information that was covered in the course. 

With the limited time that we have for learning, the full experience should be optimized to help healthcare professionals learn more effectively, thus being accountable for their learning.

The inaugural takeaways from a program I’m involved in will be out next week – I’ll keep you posted on the response!

Keep Learning!

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Key Takeaways and The Forgetting Curve

Part of creating an educational conference is to help attendees learn.

However, it is well documented, from Herman Ebbinghaus in 1885, that we forget a significant part of what we learn. Between days 2 to 7, we’ve already forgot upwards of 80% of what we learned!

Work that was completed in Australia shows that just small increments of time over the first 2-30 days after learning something new can have result in a significant improvement in content retention.

One of the key pieces to add to your communication with learners, specifically after a program, is sending bite size takeaways within 7 days of the conference and then at 30 days.

Even better is to get key takeaways from other attendees and share them with everyone. This adds connection between attendees and adds some status to those that get to share their takeaways.

For additional info on The Forgetting Curve, you can find it at Wikipedia:

(The original uploader was Icez at English Wikipedia. – Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here., Public Domain)

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Metacognition

Thinking about thinking – or metacognition – is a fascinating topic. It is an awareness of one’s own thinking or learning processes.

In a great summary of metacognition, Nancy Chick from Vanderbilt University lists important categories and questions (based on an article from Kimberly Tanner) for assessing and reflecting on one’s learning. These questions are great prompts for education providers to think about when creating educational sessions/programs.

  • Preassessment: What do I already know about this topic that could guide my learning?
  • Identifying Confusions: What was most confusing to me about the material explored today?
  • Restrospective Postassessments: How is my thinking changing (or not changing) over time?
  • Reflective Journals: What did not work so well that I should not do next time or that I should change?

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