The Hive Mind in action

bee flying dandylion

Lately everyone is asking “what happens after the workshop is over?”

In high school I worked as a cashier in my neighborhood convenience store. The pay wasn’t great, but at 16 what do you expect? However I got to see, over and over again, the actualization of the “let’s go to the corner store” meme: the place would be dead quiet (time to read a trashy celebrity mag cover-to-cover), then suddenly – how did all these people appear out of nowhere??? From a social anthropology perspective it allowed me to experience the “hive mind” in action.

Well, a similar phenomenon seems to be happening this summer: I am seeing a convergence in the training requests I’m getting that go beyond “can you do a one-day workshop”.  For the first time, organizations and individuals have been initiating the ask to explicitly integrate time and process on implementation during and after the course or workshop. Now, I’m not suggesting that in the past no one cared about implementation – in fact the opposite is true. It just seems like there is more attention being paid from the very beginning of the continuing professional education (CPE) process to a longer-term perspective and ultimate goal of performance improvement. This is in line with the proliferation of publications and calls for competency-based medical education, including recommendations in the 2012 “Future of Medical Education in Canada” report.

It’s exciting to me that organizations are starting to hold us educators accountable for what happens after the workshop is over. Positive course evaluations aren’t enough to demonstrate value when the real purpose of CPE is to facilitate change. And that’s a tough one. That’s why I no longer make New Year’s resolutions (they were always the same resolutions).

But the beauty of the hive mind is that it generates a certain energy. If our collective gaze (hive mind) is focused on the horizon as opposed to the windshield, I foresee some creative paragogical alternatives to “business as usual”.

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