Learning retention is the most important aspect of your corporate training program. Without it, your investment of time, energy and resources is useless. All the knowledge in the world can be transferred to your employees but, if they cannot retain it long enough to put it into use in the real world, where it will garner tangible positive results for your organization, it won’t matter.
But retaining information in a learning environment is also one of the biggest challenges learning and development professionals face. Human beings are naturally wired to forget information they don’t specifically focus on retaining, and forget it quickly. Therefore, your corporate training program needs to have built-in learning retention boosters.
Here are three great ways to improve learning retention and how to incorporate them into your training program.
The true test of knowledge retention is whether or not a learner can put the information into their own words. Can they summarize what they’ve just learned? Doing so serves two purposes. It helps assess their proficiency in the subject matter and it helps to commit that information to memory. Be sure to include prompts to summarize the important information at the end of each lesson, or module your training program specifically focusing on the key concepts and skills.
Repetition is the most potent solution for retaining knowledge at our disposal. It helps take the information from storage in short term memory to storage in long-term memory where we want it to be. The best time for repetition to occur is immediately after, or even during, the training. In order to perform skills, use programs or make the right decisions, learners should be forced to make sense of, recall and immediately apply the information as soon as possible after absorbing it. Be sure to include repetition in your program, not only in delivering the information but, in challenging your learners on the information as well.
- Chunking Down
Also called microlearning, chunking information down into bite-sized nuggets is an effective way to boost knowledge retention. It’s been proven that large and lengthy downloads of information are harder to absorb and retain than smaller bits. These smaller chunks are easier to digest and help the mind retain the knowledge easier. Focus on one skill or bit of information at a time and then immediately allow the learner to recall and practice afterwards. Be sure your corporate training program harnesses the power of microlearning instead of massive knowledge transfers all at once.
We know from scientific research that learning retention should be a focal point in any training program that’s to be successful. Human beings are wired to retain only important knowledge that’s essential to survival. And in today’s society, where we’re constantly inundated with information and external stimuli, it’s even harder to retain what matters. That’s why delivering information in a digestible, bite-sized format and encouraging learners to summarize and repeat information regularly throughout your program is so important. Use these three tips and watch your learning retention rates improve dramatically.
Interested in improving the retention rate in your organization’s learning programs? We can help. Contact us today!