I had two goals for my recent trip to Texas, get some good BBQ and have a great LTEN2014 Conference.
LTEN, Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network, the new name of the Society of Pharma and BioTech Trainers –can call LTEN2014 a success! To a first time conference attendee, LTEN is a welcoming and friendly group with hardworking and committed professional, accessible Board members and engaging fellow members.
The Welcome Bash in the Exhibit Hall, with martinis, margaritas and a taco bar, kicked off networking and high cheer amongst attendees and exhibitors. I joined a group from Daiichi Sankyo and LEO Pharma for dinner at Zeppole Coastal Italian, one of several full size restaurants under the glass dome of the Gaylord Texan. Conversation ranged from how to make gnocchi to where and when we’ll meet again for a networking happy hour!
Day 1 Goal Score: Find a good BBQ: 0. Meet great new life science trainer friends: 1
Tuesday and Wednesday’s agendas were packed with insightful presentations. On the Tuesday, I attended B. Price Kerfoot’s session, “From Malcolm Gladwell to Harvard: Easy Strategies to Boost Learning and Change Behavior’. Beginning by defining metacognition as awareness of one’s own thoughts, Dr. Kerfoot gave us a “judgements of learning” quiz to rate the utility of learning strategies as high, moderate or low. Distilling research data into learnable nuggets, Dr. Kerfoot shared studies proved these five techniques are the most powerful at increasing learning and retention:
- Spacing study practice sessions – bite sized pieces of information over time (fits right in with the trend to using mobile learning with reps on the go).
- Using tests within the training significantly increases retention – where the tests aren’t just used to evaluate or measure.
- Intervals – the longer the space between learning sessions, the longer the retention
- Varying conditions of practice – learning and retention are boosted when you use “disfluent fonts”. Yes, using comic sans or magneto or any unexpected font in your written materials or slides increases learning!
- Interleaving versus blocking –mixing learning, overlaying new with old information, blending the learning.
Dr. Kerfoot concluded with this quote, “Our results…suggest that individuals responsible for the design and evaluation of instruction… are susceptible to being very misled by their own intuitions and subjective experiences.” Psychol Sci 2008
This reminds us to be open to new ways of learning and to perspectives other than our own as we work together to create effective, impactful life sciences training.
Tuesday finished with a rowdy “Hootenanny” at the Gaylord’s country bar, the Glass Cactus. Wearing a Stetson and jeans, I lined danced, noshed on lettuce wraps and conference themed “L-Tinis” and cheered on trainers at the calf roping station.
Day 2 Goal Score: Good BBQ, 0. Learn great usable strategies for impactful learning: 1
In the current edition of FOCUS, LTEN’s quarterly publication, a report by TGaS Advisors reviews Pharma training trends. TGaS surveyed training & development leaders about selling model trends. One of the findings which struck me was that nearly 40% of respondents use selling models custom built by a vendor, 13% use a selling program which combines internal and customized model and 13% use a licensed training program. Training development partners are involved in about 60% of training programs. Indeed, the collaboration between pharma and medical device training and industry partners is further evidenced by the LTEN2014 workshop presenters….82% of were facilitated by vendors or by pharma/med device trainers with their vendor partners. It is a dynamic collaboration between life science trainers and partners who offer the services and solutions needed to ensure successful programs.
Wednesday ended with an invitation to a Dallas steakhouse to celebrate the partnership between Todd Street Productions and EduMotion. Joined by new friends from several pharma companies, we laughed, networked and enjoyed the biggest steaks and onion rings I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Day 3 Goal Score: Find a good BBQ: 0. Find the greatest onion rings, dynamic trainers and vendor partners ever!: 1
The LTEN2014 keynote speakers were above par. Those who stood out included Aimee Mullins, Amy Cuddy and Dr. David Rock. Instructional technology expert Karl Kapp closed the conference and his address set Twitter aflutter with golden nuggets of wisdom tweeted fast and furious! My favorite: by @swoodruff: Training humor: “Bullets don’t kill learners. Bulleted lists kill learners.”
Day 4 Goal Score: Find a good BBQ: 0, Finish an impactful LTEN2014: 1
LTEN’s leadership has gotten it right by choosing the mission of Clarity, Community and Career. LTEN2014 gave me clarity of learning strategies and solutions, sharing best practices with my community of new friends and networking with thought leaders from the training industry to build my career. I’ll trade a successful LTEN2014 over good BBQ every time!
I’m booking now for next year’s conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Sure, I’ll have a GREAT LTEN2015, but can I get good tamales?