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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  June 09, 2011

Who vs. How

Many of us training experts tout our years in the field, making the claim that our time-tested experience is worth the investment.  This study by 2001 Nobel Prize-winning physicist Carl Wieman should give us cause for pause.

The upshot:  inexperienced teachers using small-group discussions, “clicker” quizzes and demonstrations trump traditional lecture by a veteran professor any time.  Coolest thing:  the teachers got real-time graphic feedback on what the students were learning and what they weren’t getting, so they could adjust immediately.  How you get the idea across is just as important as the idea (and person) giving it.  The transfer of the knowledge is more important than the knowledge in the first place.

Yea, you know this already.  Here’s my question:  how many of us are using the small-group discussions and calling it good?  When is it a good time to introduce more variety in our interaction, such as demonstration or clicker quizzes?

Don’t even think that this only applies in college classrooms.  This holds true in any learning environment — even concurrent sessions at trade conferences, and corporate events.  We need to go beyond what we are comfortable with (small group discussions).  Perhaps the next strategic advantage will be the techniques we use to enhance learning and behavior change.

Here’s more information about the study from the Associated Press.


About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.