Sticky knowledge: Training tips for learning that lasts

So you've created your course, built your workshop, and hosted your webinar. It all goes brilliantly, people love it! But how do you make sure they truly understand the information and retain it long after the event?

Sue Keogh, founder and MD  of Sookio

In her recent talk at LearnWorld 2021, Sookio Founder Sue Keogh shared practical tips drawn from training thousands of people in areas like social media, writing for the web and email marketing. Not just through the Sookio School online courses in digital marketing but through frequent webinars throughout the pandemic period  - incluidng some with Cambridge Network - and face-to-face workshops with the University of Cambridge, Sony and Government Digital Services.

With 2500+ signups to Sticky Knowledge and livechat that was buzzing throughout, the talk was in the top four most popular during the two-day LearnWorlds summit.

This blog post and session recording are perfect if you're a course creator, events organiser or a business owner who understand the value of continually upskilling your team.

Get Sue's tips on:

  • what to do before your session to get people in the right mindset to learn

  • practical activities to help it sink in during the workshop or webinar

  • follow-up tasks to keep people learning after the event.


Sue Keogh, Founder and Director of Sookio writes:

Before the session

1. Get them engaged before it begins!

I like to set people a task before the session. One of my most popular courses is about writing for the web, so I ask people to bring along a page they struggle with which we can rewrite as an activity in the workshop.

Or if it’s about social media, I ask them to think about a brand they follow who does social media really well…and to note down all the things they like about their activity.

So this means people are thinking about the session even before they get there and turn up ready to engage. All warmed up!

2. Do your research and find a way to make a connection

Whatever I’m talking about I always like to pull out best practice examples to demonstrate what I’m talking about. So find out who’s coming to the session – what examples or activities can you create which will be particularly relevant? Find out who their competitors are – and use a good example created by someone you know will be in the room, and an example of a competitor doing a terrible job. It’s this extra research that means on the day you’ll be able to make a really strong connection with the people in the room.

3. Tell people exactly what they’re going to get

This counts for online courses as much as face to face. Circulating an outline before the session or making sure your online course has a great description and an outline of what’s in each section goes a long way in helping people mentally prepare for the knowledge that’s about to go in.

You can also create a worksheet to go with the course that people know they have to fill in as they go.

1. Get a bloody move on

The number of times I’ve been to a workshop face to face where you turn up all enthused, but by the time the trainers have gone through what to do in case of a fire alarm… shared their whole life story…and then go on to ask 25 people to go round the room and introduce themselves one by one…well it makes me want to jump out of the window.

I was on a Zoom meeting like this the other day and after 20 minutes of it I just pretended I had a bad connection and left. Do not do this. Get cracking, or you’ll lose their attention.

2. Give people something to do, straight away

This is the best thing you can do if you want immediate, lasting engagement. Give people a really simple activity that doesn’t take much thought.

If I’m doing a workshop on creating content, I ask people to grab their smartphone and take a picture of something within arm’s reach. They’re not allowed to move. Then we edit the picture later. Everyone can do it, no one feels silly for getting it wrong.

Or in a webinar, right from the beginning I have a simple question that is ‘tell me in chat’. Or a poll that doesn’t take much thought. Get people involved and they’ll stay engaged, it’ll feel like a two-way event rather than a one-way broadcast.

Read more tips on the Sookio blog - or watch the session recording.

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