The Five Minutes You Should Include at the End of Your Education Sessions

Author: David McMillin       

When Avinash Chandarana, group learning and development director at MCI Benelux SA, took the stage at the Singapore MICE Forum at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre in Singapore on July 27, he announced his primary goal for the audience: to boost our memory retention. Chandarana, the official “Dot Connector” of the event, knew we would be battling the typical challenges of forgetfulness that plague all attendees when they return to their offices. So he unveiled a simple solution. “At the end of every session, we’re going to have a reflection moment,” Chandarana said. “It’s five minutes of quiet time at the end to increase retention and deliver a much higher ROI for your time here.”

These reflection moments were more than a few minutes of meditation. Chandarana understood that attendees would be tempted to use these reflection moments to reach for their smartphones and scroll through emails they may have missed. At the opening session, everyone in the audience received a learning log — a physical booklet with pages dedicated to each education session on the agenda. Rather than leaving the reflection moments open to interpretation, the log guided attendees through three key areas to enhance their learning.

  • The Power of Why. This section asked attendees to highlight why the session was important and why the topic resonated with them.
  • The Power of Context. The middle section required attendees to jot down the top insights from the session that applied directly to their roles or their organizations.
  • The Power of Action. The final section included the most important question: How will those insights turn into something real? And when would they like to complete the action?

Battling the Forgetting Curve

Throughout the conference, the reflection moments reappeared, and many attendees spent additional time sharing their personal reflections with colleagues. Chandarana told the audience that the exercise applies to every conference, regardless of size or profession. Why? Because every organizer is battling the forgetting curve — the reality that we all forget information as time passes. This curve dates back to 1885 when German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus studied memory, finding that the average human only retains about 20 percent of information after two days. And that was well before the current age of information overload.

Writing notes will do more than increase memory retention. According to psychology research conducted at Dominican University in California, the process will increase the likelihood that attendees will bring the third section — The Power of Action — to life. The research revealed that people become 42 percent more likely to achieve their goals and dreams if they write them down on a regular basis. And that, Chandarana, believes is the most valuable piece of the exercise. “Care less about what you know,” he told attendees in the closing session. “Care more about what you do.”

Interested in seeing more from Singapore? Click here to discover one of the city’s most unique event spaces where companies like Netflix, Sephora, and Microsoft are hosting attendees, and stay tuned for a Convene on Site feature in the October issue.

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