second opinions mark

Healthcare Training with the Brain in Mind: Podcast

Podcast Episode 3

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 a short edited excerpt from the recording with HealthStream’s Brad Weeks, our host:


How has the concept of accelerated learning evolved over the past few years?

Normand Desmarais:

Accelerated learning is also known as personalized learning, and the idea behind this is as individuals, we all have different experiences. We all come to the table with different backgrounds, knowledge, and skills. So why should everyone receive the same exact education and training? It’s grossly inefficient, it’s not very good for the user, and it’s time wasting. We have been doing some studies with the Air Force Research Laboratory starting about a decade ago now—time studies and studies on personalization of learning.

Ultimately, you’ve got to assess an individual and find out their current state, and then provide them only with the knowledge and information that they need in order to get to a [desired] performance level. We’ve been researching this for years, and we’ve done several studies also in time studies and decay rate studies. [We] have basically proven that we can provide individuals with just the information they need, and they will still retain that information months and days and years later.


Certainly, those listening are within organizations that are undergoing massive changes every day regardless of the industry, particularly in healthcare. How have you seen personalized learning shape organizational change?

Normand Desmarais:

What we found in all industries today, not just healthcare but across all sectors, is that change is occurring so quickly in every aspect that time is critically important. The personalization of learning really is respectful of an individual’s time. We basically only want to provide them with what they need to know, when they need to know it.

The days of old where you sit in the classroom for 4, 8, or 16 hours is not extremely efficient for anybody. As we all know, some folks may need all that training education. Several of them already come to that education with a knowledge that they don’t need to be learning, and basically end up tuning out for a large part of that. The other side of that is the stress induced on individuals where when they are taken out of their current workflow, or their current task. Often times they are thinking, “Wow when I get back there nothing’s been done, I’ve got to double up or triple up and actually provide a lot more.”

That’s a lot more stress to them to go back and catch up with where they left off. The personalized learning piece is really something that you will be seeing more and more if you’ll take a look across in America. Particularly in the marketing world and social world, virtually everything is personalized today. The education industry is following at this point in time.

Listen to the full length podcast here.

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