Elearning! Magazine

DEC 2016 - JAN 2017

Elearning! Magazine: Building Smarter Companies via Learning & Workplace Technologies.

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Ti s p Tips Retention 52 December 2016 / January 2017 Elearning! BY RYAN EUDY Learners forget 70% of what they learn over a 24-hour period, so organizations need to find ways to reinforce their training in order to realize a positive return on investment. Aer budget concerns, "rein- forcing training so that it sticks" is the greatest challenge faced by training and learning depart- ments today. Indeed, "Burst and Boost" have become buzz- words in the industry, referring to best practices surrounding short-form content with heavy follow-up. is is a recogni- tion on the part of the industry that, for training to be effective, there have to be ways to make it stick—otherwise, companies will never see a positive return on their investment. e problem is built right into our brains: Research from Wash- ington University in St. Louis and Harvard University found that the learning curve for just about any kind of information drops off exponentially, meaning that people will forget a full 70 percent of what they learn aer a mere 24 hours have elapsed. is means that training programs that do not address retention are, at best, only 30 percent effective at behavioral change. So how can L&D depart- ments do better? ere are many good psychological theo- ries about what is conducive to remembering. In a nutshell, these theories agree that infor- mation is not so much "stored" and "retrieved" in the brain as it is connected, rehearsed, and reconstructed. Remembering information, then, is more a matter of engaging in the right sorts of activities to recall, use, and re-engage with information. On a practical level, there are many ways to do this: FOLLOWING UP WITH THE RIGHT "BOOST" CONTENT. Summaries or recaps of criti- cal pieces of information can prompt memory, helping em- ployees recall what they have learned. It also refocuses their attention on what is important and helps them decipher their notes. Receiving reviews on a weekly or monthly basis can thus solidify what was learned, and can easily be done with a short "CliffsNotes" version of the training in the form of a one-to-two-minute video high- lighting the main ideas. PERIODIC QUESTIONS AND QUIZZES. People are more likely to re- member information that they must use to answer a question or figure out a problem. at kind of re-engagement is a great way to boost recall, espe- cially when the questions re- quire applying the information to a scenario the learner will see on the job. For example, periodic quizzes can be sched- uled for two days, two weeks, and two months aerward, allowing for spaced learning— proven to be the best method for retaining information. MOTIVATION THROUGH COMPETITION. You don't need a huge budget and a team of programmers to "gamify" your training experi- ence. You can enhance training reinforcement simply by adding some elements of competition to motivate your employees. For example, you can add badges and leaderboards to your train- ing program so that employees can have a public display of what they have done, adding to their overall sense of accomplish- ment. Quiz contests can work well too: Aer sending out your post-training quizzes, gather the results and offer small incentives for those who complete them with a better-than-passing grade. WHAT DO THESE ACTIVITIES ACCOMPLISH? e main aim of these methods is to reinforce what has been learned. During the process of reinforcement, short-term memories of the actual train- ing event are slowly turned into long-term memories that can truly change behavior. is halts the forgetting curve and makes the learned information more easily accessible from memory. As a side benefit, employees feel more confident, engaged, and knowledgeable. What's more, training pro- grams that succeed in doing this provide a positive return on investment over the long term. Training programs that do not take reinforcement seri- ously oen falter as the forget- ting curve kicks in. –Ryan Eudy is CEO of ej4. Ej4 is a 2016 Best of Elearning! winner. Learn more at: ej4.com Forgetting is Easy But So Is Reinforcement

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