Making Learning Stick; tips for Knowledge Retention

Knowledge retention is all about taking the time and effort that has gone into learning and giving it some longevity. According to pioneering psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, we lose 70% of new information within just 24 hours if we don’t make an effort to retain it. If you’re putting care and resources into creating learning for others then the last thing you want is for that learning to be immediately forgotten. However, with a proactive approach to knowledge retention that doesn’t have to happen.

Avoid information overload

“Less is more” tends to be the philosophy that works when it comes to knowledge retention. Too much information can make it difficult to absorb anything and humans can only concentrate for a specific period of time before switching off. So, bite sized learning goals and short bursts of data are more manageable and will enable information to be retained for longer.

Narratives are a great tool

Have you ever wondered why those stories that really caught you up emotionally tend to stick in your mind? We retain knowledge that affects us in this way, which is why storytelling is such a great tool to get knowledge across. A simple narrative is a very easy way to communicate key learning objectives in a format that people are much more likely to remember.

Put some real thought into the way you prepare your learning

  • Design your training so that it is tailored to the knowledge outcome of each particular subject area and keep it lean. Avoid additional or extra information that isn’t really necessary.
  • Interactive learning engages learners and engaged learners remember their experiences. Audio, video and user-centric graphics can all be great tools to stimulate and engage learners and ensure that they remain in the room.
  • Focus on real life value. Make sure you answer the question “why do I need to know this.” If your learners can see where this training fits and why it’s important then they’re much more likely to remember it.

Repetition can help to ensure knowledge retention

Repetition helps to embed knowledge into the brain – it’s one of the most effective tools that there is for knowledge retention. However, that doesn’t have to mean getting learners to repeat something in school room fashion. Repetition of learned knowledge can be achieved in many more interesting ways, from role playing through to quizzes.

Incorporate an element of testing into your training

One sure fire way to ensure that knowledge recently acquired is not forgotten is to test it fairly quickly after it has been learned. Doing this enforces the stored information. It means that learners have the opportunity to absorb the information that they have just received and then retrieve it from their memory. This is one of the most effective ways to ensure that knowledge is retained.

If you’d like to understand more about how to maximise knowledge retention from the way training is structured – and how to use something like an LMS to support your training investment – contact Enterprise Study today to find out more.

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