Finding the time to do everything such as continual professional development (CPD) is not easy. As such, understanding how we best learn and retain information allows you to maximise the use of your precious time.

In studies of how we learn the 70:20:10 model (first developed by Morgan McCall, Michael M. Lombardo and Robert A. Eichinger in the 80s) is a useful benchmark. They found we learn 70% experientially, 20% through what we are shown or by social learning from others, and 10% through formal training.

70 20 10 chart

As such, most companies are now getting rid of the clunky, up-front training or online learning with too many modules and adopting a blended learning approach. The emphasis of this is that little and often, with time to practice in between, combined with a trusted support network, is considered optimum.

So, what does this mean for me?

As we showed in our blog about Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve here, it means the days of setting aside large blocks of time for learning infrequently is the least efficient way to learn.

We are actually better off setting aside small blocks of time on a frequent basis, to learn things we will be able to reflect on and practice that week. As such learning modules or summary webinars that are less than an hour fit perfectly within this model. It should come as no surprise that it is one of the reasons was set up in this way with a focus on quality not quantity and bite sized golden nuggets of information and learning, or what we like to call 'just-in-time learning'.

Likewise, then having a trusted support network to get a second opinion at the time you need the answer can be super helpful. Most associations have their own private Facebook group, there is the LearningwithTLC one, Sports Injury Fix has a well-regarded members group or, for more bespoke advice, it can be well worth the investment in having a mentor or coach.

Does this mean we are recommending stopping doing longer learning periods? No. There is still value in them however, when evaluating whether to undertake them, then it is worth considering how the learning is undertaken and what opportunities you will have to re-enforce the learning either as part of the course or in gaps in between if it is spaced out. If you haven't seen it already, then Jon Tibke's blog on Planning your CPD is extremely helpful in deciding what learning you are going to prioritise.

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