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Reflection and Engagement for Stickier Learning


Wed May 22 2024

Reflection and Engagement for Stickier Learning

ATD Forum members focus on durable learning methods.

There are more than 350 sessions available throughout ATD24. Obviously, it’s impossible to consume all of that information, which is why Cherie Lucio, director of training at Gant Travel, and Shannon Davis, talent development manager at MAREK, hosted an ATD Forum session, “3-2-1 Make It Stick,” on Monday. The session—which repeated on Tuesday, May 21, at 1:00 p.m. with Sue Kasko, senior director of talent development at 84 Lumber, and Will Stephens, L&D professional at bioMérieux, as facilitators—gave attendees the tools to ensure the information from ATD24 sticks with them after they leave the conference.


The session focused on reflection and durable learning, enabling a more hands-on approach for attendees, who participated in multiple activities, both individually and with partners, to learn more about making learning “stickier.”

“Reflection practices significantly increase your retention,” Lucio said. “They help you deepen your understanding of a given topic, and they help you facilitate your knowledge and your expertise.”

Durable learning helps learners make sense of their experiences.

“You generate information with your own words and make a mental picture of the information learned,” Lucio explained. “Durable learning can be applied long after a learning experience or event.”

To apply reflection and durable learning methods, attendees began by writing down something they learned about during the first couple of days of ATD24, whether a quote from Monday’s keynote speaker Matthew McConaughey or a nugget from a session that stuck with them.


The second activity, called 3-2-1, is a structured reflection method:

  • What are three main ideas related to the topic or experience from the first activity?

  • What are two connections to other topics the attendees are familiar with and use?

  • What is one question they have about the topic or experience they want to examine more deeply?

One attendee reflected that the latter question worked as something of a mission statement for her as she explores L&D career opportunities.

The third activity—pair and share—was an exercise in which attendees paired up to share their reflections from the first two activities and, in turn, come up with new ideas they gleaned from their conversations.

The final activity, the table reflection, required everyone at each table to discuss the value of using the eight durable learning principles—relevant, contextual, engaging, effortful, generative, social, spaced practice, and reflective—and other ways they can use reflection methods to catalyze learning.

The Forum ended with recorded audio from author and former ATD Forum member Dana Alan Koch giving the participants parting words about increasing curiosity.


“Open your mind to new ideas, new disciplines, new opportunities,” Koch stated. “Often, I find answers to profound questions are best discovered when exploring things outside of my personal area of expertise.”

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