Traditionally, training has been done in bulk at the start of a new job or placement in the form of days and weeks in the classroom or doing an online course with a large number of modules. The promise was, and often still is, is that after this you will know everything you need to about that subject. As therapists, the focus is on evidence and this has changed many practices, yet, with learning what you still see is “x hours of learning”, “everything you need to know about shoulders etc”.

If you have not heard of the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve[i] it makes for scary reading, showing we forget over half of what we’ve just learned in a matter of days, unless we take further steps to help remember it.

The Forgetting Curve

Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve. Image from

In wider business, companies used to hold large amounts of stock and then moved to ‘just in time’ supplies so they could become more efficient and easily handle changes. The same has happened with learning and ‘just in time’ learning is increasingly being adopted to increase the frequency of learning so it takes place where it is needed, can be re-enforced and thus is retained for longer in our memory.

So how does this apply to individual therapists? What can I do to improve?

In simple terms, it is about structuring your learning into bite sized chunks. Yes, it can be lovely to do the expensive in-depth course but if you are not then going to use that knowledge for a few months until you have a relevant case, then it’s probably worth saving your money.

Focus on learning opportunities where you will be able to use the knowledge practically in a short period of time afterwards, to improve the retention of such knowledge. Bite sized summaries from trusted sources can help, likewise having the ability to quickly access the information you need rather than having to wade through hours of videos. Two practical solutions are

  • Yes, we are biased but it contains bite sized learning based on the evidence mentioned earlier to maximise its relevance and timeliness for you. There’s a 7 day free trial available here so why not try it now?
  • Having a support network you can call upon to answer the problem you have right now. Certain Facebook groups can be helpful for this. Association ones can give a response from peers and multi-disciplinary ones such as Sports Injury Fix can give you the cross-discipline expert view.

We’d love to hear how you get on trying this out or if you have any questions. Please email us at [email protected].

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