If it wasn’t for “The Forgetting Curve,” you could provide your employees with training on a topic once and never need to again. They would remember it completely (assuming the initial training experience was an effective one, of course).
However, that’s not how it works. As soon as the training experience is completed, what happens in the days and weeks that follow has been cited as the biggest problem for all training programs…the forgetting phenomenon takes over.
To put it simply, without immediate application or the need for effortful recall in the days that follow, learners begin to forget the nuances of what they were trained on. This is true for in-person and online training experiences.
What to do?
There is no better way to reinforce training than to ensure that the learner has the opportunity to apply their new knowledge and skills right away. Period. Full stop.
But when that is not possible (for whatever combination of reasons), the use of effortful recall as a technique can be a next-best approach. Prior to the digital learning age, this was tricky and labour intensive to implement. Thus, “The Forgetting Curve” took over. We constantly found ourselves putting employees through retraining or refresher training.
Let’s look at an example.
Imagine I have just completed a 30-minute online (self-directed) course on how to do an investigation following a workplace accident. Hopefully, I won’t have an immediate opportunity to apply my learnings, but when one happens, I am going to need to have that knowledge top-of-mind.
Here’s one idea of how to approach this: create a trigger that is activated when the employee completes the course. It launches a series of emails to be delivered to the employee’s inbox on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for the following month. In each email, there’s a question requiring effortful recall and a choice of four answers. The employee selects the (correct or incorrect) answer and their response is recorded in a gamification app, which keeps track of their score for them.
Of course, there are lots of options when it comes to post-training performance support and this is just one example. Regardless of the methodology used, the results are the same. When the employee is prompted or required to revisit the training content at regular intervals in the month that follows the training experience, the learner retention rate goes up…and that’s good.
Let’s talk about your training programs and how we can take them into the digital age together.
FREE Online Workshop: How to Make Live Online Training More Engaging
On December 3rd, I will be sharing some of my best tips for reaching through the screen and capturing the attention of your learners. Learn practical ways to jazz up your sessions with fun and meaningful techniques that will increase the learner retention rates and put your live online classes at the front of the pack.
For registration and more details regarding this online workshop, click here.
WeLoveLearning is a one-stop shop for learning solutions with an extended virtual team who’ve worked with us for many years including designers, developers, tech support, trainers, consultants, facilitators and coaches; and a rich community of Subject Matter Experts.
We translate YOUR organization’s vision into really awesome but practical learner-centred training that can be delivered online or in the classroom (or both). Our training solutions impact your bottom-line by increasing efficiencies and reducing employee turnover. Learn more about what we do »