By Elizabeth Moreland, NCP-E, SCS, HCCP, SHCM, FHC
To say Housing Credit compliance is difficult would be an understatement. There is so much to learn, comprehend, and execute, and the rules are just plain complicated. Add in the state-specific rules, numerous gray areas, and the likelihood of other programs being on your property, and you have the potential for overwhelmed employees and stressed-out owners.
In the past, the only way to obtain Housing Credit training was to attend a workshop or seminar, likely in person. Often this meant traveling out of town for several days and sitting through a lengthy course. Industry professionals are used to fast-paced days with more movement and excitement than is likely offered. Quite frankly, lengthy Housing Credit training workshops can be boring and too much information to process, even for the most engaged learner. Learners tend to have difficulty paying attention, leading to minimal retention.
Thankfully, the days when attending an overwhelming seminar was your only option are over. If you want to become proficient in Housing Credit, I have five secrets to share with you:
Secret #1: Take bite-sized courses in an environment that is comfortable.
Traditional seminars don’t fit the realities of our lives anymore. We are all busy with limited availability to step away from our properties for long periods of time. Most attendees have to move mountains to attend such an event and often, when they arrive, are strapped to their cell phones the entire time because they can’t fully leave their job responsibilities behind. Taking short, to-the-point courses on a specific concept or rule — in an environment you are familiar and comfortable with — allows for a better learning experience.
Secret #2: Carve out time for learning on your schedule where minimal interruptions can take place.
Trying to complete a course or seminar in the middle of a chaotic day where you have other more important tasks likely is not the best option. Commit to investing in yourself by staying up to date on trending information without compromising your property or personal time. It is nearly impossible to learn when your head is elsewhere. By having courses available on your schedule, you triple your retention.
Secret #3: Tackle the complicated rules in chunks, allowing your brain to fully grasp the information before forcing it to move on to another rule.
Traditional seminars pack in a lot of information due to time constraints. It is not uncommon for these workshops to tackle 10 to 15 complicated rules. But our brains don’t work that way, resulting in only fully retaining two to three concepts. This means over 80% of the information given is not fully retained. By learning the rules in chunks, you match how our brains learn, increasing your retention tenfold.
Secret #4: Have the rules more than just explained but illustrated to see how they work. Then, have the opportunity to practice them, showing you how to master them in the real world.
We tend to learn in multiple ways, for example, hearing, seeing, and doing. Most lectures or other training only use one learning method: hearing. A few also throw in some visual learning with a slide show. But the method that has the biggest impact on our learning and retention is the actual “doing.” Courses that use all three learning approaches allow you to master the concepts quickly and easily and, most importantly, successfully transfer them into your job.
Secret #5: Repeat each concept until you have it.
We all learn at different paces. Sometimes a concept strikes a chord with us, and we become fixated on it, causing us to miss the next training topic. Other times we find ourselves amid a topic we have already mastered or doesn’t apply to us, so we become bored and disengaged. By taking courses at our own pace, we can repeat information until we’ve got it, skip information we’ve already mastered or that doesn’t apply, and fixate on topics that are important to us, taking as much or as little time as we need. As the learner, you are in the driver’s seat for your education experience.
Now that is how you learn and retain! At Grace Hill, we implement each and every one of these secrets into our curriculum to maximize your learning experience. And it works! The industry is raving about this unique and effective approach to learning and training team members. Remember, it isn’t just about learning the rules; you want to feel and be compliance confident!