Healthcare Training Design Must Change to Match Culture and Pace of Modern Life

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

HealthStream’s Second Opinions Podcast series features industry experts and leaders and their take on issues impacting healthcare today and tomorrow.

Our third installment is an interview with Normand Desmarais, chairman and founding partner of Tier 1 Performance Solutions and Xcelerated Learning Dynamics, Inc., a HealthStream partner. An adult learning expert, Norm discusses research on a type of learning where students are trained only on what they don't already know—a concept known as personalized learning. He also shares his insights into how learning must evolve to meet the pace of innovation and change in healthcare.

Below is an edited excerpt from the recording with HealthStream’s Brad Weeks, our host:


You’ve said that the human brain learns by metaphors and remembers by stories. Tell us a little bit more about, just how important that is with regard to learning and adapting to change?


If a good metaphor is like a visual image or photograph, a good story is like a movie. Our research have shown that people remember better through stories.

When you are hearing a story you are basically relating it back to something you’ve already known in your past and something that you have burned into your brain. Stories are critically important to convey good information and good messages, and in getting people comfortable in a [mental] flow of “Okay I get that concept, I understand the story, here’s how I relate it back to what I’ve done or seen in the past. Now I’m going to remember what you are telling me.” Stories have been fantastic for engagement, in learning ability, and learning retention.


How does one design training with the brain in mind?


Going back to the environment we are in today, the amount of complexity by the way of what needs to be trained and educated is daunting. Before we were all born, during the industrial revolution or prior to that, change occurred at a certain pace, measured in hundreds of years or maybe decades. Then we got into the time after the wars where change accelerated and got into a year.

The pace of change creates an awful lot of stress on organizations, and so when an organization decides to adopt some change, the training programs then become critical because now okay what are we going to do with this workforce?

[Providing] too much information at this point and time within the training education is overwhelming, and feeds misunderstanding and resistance. You can imagine if you don’t invest enough time in the design and development of training, it’s going to be more of a one size fits all Therein lies a challenge, which is getting the change done and the training done, versus investment in amount of dollars available to do it with the right amount of fidelity.

Then finally just what methods do we do to deliver training? There’s so many methods today. We are in a podcast right now and this is one method; we all have videos we watch at home all the time, do it yourself videos.

We [also] attend training classes, we take our e-learning and some of it’s check the box type training. Some of it’s a little bit in-depth, so we actually meet in huddles, and we deal with company meetings. Training education happens all day long, every day. Those multiple modalities also are critically important. How do you get the right bites of information within the right modalities to the right people, so it’s not overwhelming and it’s in context with their lives so it doesn’t stress them out?

Listen to the full length podcast here.