Years ago as a teen I saw a movie titled "The Cross and the Switchblade" with my church youth group. It was a moving tale of redemption through Christianity, and at the time I was so affected that I cried and cried. I had already joined my church, but to some degree was only going through the motions (I was only a young teen, after all.) That movie hit me in the pit of the stomach and I still have a memory of it today.
Did that movie change the way in which I behave? It certainly was an impact event, and I suppose for a while I walked a slightly straighter path (I was already walking one that was pretty darned straight,) but I was not permanently changed by the movie's message. I still did the questioning and acting out that teens, young adults, and older adults do.
It's interesting how when companies or individuals try to enact change they do so by giving a strong message and then the equivalent of , "go forth and sin no more." While consciousness raising through impact learning can be important, it's not reliable for behavior change.
- To some degree impact learning is like a bucket of water that you pour over someone. At the time they could be a sponge or a stone, and if they're a stone the water will roll right off. Even if they're a sponge, they'll dry up unless you keep pouring water from time to time.
- Impact learning requires the conditions to be just so: no distraction from the room setup or temperature, no fatigue or preoccupation on the part of the viewers, and a presenter that truly connects with the audience, among other things. Otherwise the impact won't be significant enough to be memorable.
Adults need to understand the relevance of information to them, and they want to know how to apply it. They are critical thinkers who are conditioned to think negatively about change at first, and they have to figure out how to assimilate it for themselves, where they sit.
Too much information at one time blows people's hair back. If they learn 50 new things on one particular day, it's long been accepted that they will only retain one idea beyond 2 weeks after the event.
For effective learning, spaced repetition is much more reliable for retention and application. If you want to remember how to be a Christian (or whatever faith you practice,) you're much more likely to do so effectively if you are regularly engaged in study of some sort, and in taking intentional action to see how you manifest it in your life.