Finding the 15 Minutes of Good Stuff

We know the ways we now encourage adoption and use of evidence-based practices (EBPs) don’t produce much change in clinicians’ behavior.  We’ve know that for a long time (e.g., Barlow, Levitt, Bufka, 1999).

In part, our methods minimally impact practice because they are like diffusion of light from a streetlight. Some few “happen into the light” and make contact with an EBP in a journal article, conference paper, or treatment manual.  Of the few, some yet smaller set convey what they have learned to a slightly wider circle of colleagues (Lomas, 1997). Slow. Haphazard. Effortful for all involved, including the person who went to all the effort to make the article or training that reached so few.

This makes me want to add more design thinking to our efforts.  So I’ve been experimenting.

Take a therapist’s typical day.  You definitely wish you were more effective, maybe many times a day. You are slammed for time. To learn something new, no matter how bad you want it, is going to cost you. Maybe not only the workshop fee but also missed income for a day out of the office.   I’ve not yet done a full-on ethnographic study (which would be a very cool dissertation or thesis).  But I am sure I am not the only one who has acted on my need to be more effective, gone to a 6 hour training and left with only 15 minutes of good stuff.  I want to cry out, “Have Mercy! I just want the 15 minutes of good stuff.”

So I’ve been experimenting with just giving learners the 15-minutes of good stuff. A little mini-lesson in flash that comes to your email so you can just click the link and voila—you’re at the training.  Clinical concept. Illustration. Specific idea of how to deliberately practice.  Even when we’re slammed, we can make 10-15 minutes. Next is to systematically evaluate the impact, but learners’ self-report of satisfaction and use look good.

How about you?  If you’re a trainer and were going to truly have mercy and center your effort on the therapist learner’s needs, what would you do…?  Or if you’re the slammed one who needs useful info, and someone were going to swoop in and make it easy for you…what would that little EBP Learning Fairy do for you?