After one hour, learners retain less than half of the information presented. After one day, people only retain thirty percent of the training. If you don’t employ some type of training reinforcement, a percentage of your training dollars will be lost as your learners forget. It is important to explore what other elements are needed to retain and apply training information—and how those elements can be worked into existing programs.
5 Training Reinforcement Tools
There are a lot of good psychological theories about what is conducive to remembering information. In a nutshell, these theories say that information 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 getting the right sorts of prompts to recall, use, and re-engage with information. On a practical level, there are many training reinforcement tools available, especially if you use eLearning in your training mix:
1. Exams and Quizzes
People are more likely to remember information that they must use to answer a question or figure out a problem. Engaging with the information is a great way to boost recall, especially when the questions pertain to applying that information to a scenario the learner will see on the job.
So, when you can, take the opportunity to ask a follow-up question, or ask several such questions as part of a quiz. Poor performance on such questions might signal a need for further training or follow-up. Good performance not only signals successful training but also reinforces what employees have already learned.
Ideally, your system will prompt the learner to take an exam immediately upon completion of the course. A more sophisticated system can be programmed to send the learner a series of reminder questions on a predetermined schedule and allow the user to revisit quizzes in their own user profile.
2. Reminder Videos
Suppose you have your sales team sit through a few hours of sales training with an instructor, videos, role-playing, and handouts. At the end of the training, they feel energized: Everyone has learned something, and everyone is eager to try out what they have learned, but will they remember the details when they need to apply them? Will they remember the questioning techniques and closing tips? Or will those get lost in the shuffle of the work-week?
Now imagine a scenario where two weeks after the training, participants get a short video version of that training highlighting the main ideas and learning points. This re-exposes them to the content, jogging their memory and helping them decipher their notes.
Combine the reminder videos with the follow-up quizzes for a more effective training reinforcement program.
3. Application Exercises
Offer downloadable student materials with an outline of the course and questions to help the learner apply the information to their work or think about how to change their mind or their behavior.
Application questions are different from exam questions. For example, in our course on the Anti-Racism Continuum, an exam question is “Once you reach the “Growth Zone” you have reached the end of your journey. You no longer need to put in work. True or False?” And an application question is “Which phase of the anti-racism continuum do you fall into and why?” If you really want to reinforce training and change behaviors, you need both.
4. User Favorites
Create a method in which your users can “favorite” a video and then easily access the list of favorites to rewatch to reinforce the content. As users take required courses or explore courses on their own, they may find videos they want to rewatch later for reference. A simple “click” of a favorite button will make this process very simple.
5. User Notes
Allow a user to make their own electronic notes at any point during the course or video. In the ej4 LMS, Thinkzoom, the electronic note will reappear at the exact point in the video when the learner rewatches the course.
Many of our clients suggest that learners combine Favorites and Notes for a more effective experience. First, the user makes a note in a course, then, second, they favorite the video so it will appear in the “Favorites” widget on their personal dashboard. Then when they rewatch the course, the user’s own notes show up to help reinforce the points they found most important.
Training Reinforcement Trial
To see how a modern LMS can help automate exams, reminders, display student materials, show favorites, make notes, and more, sign up for a free trial of Thinkzoom. You can sign up nine additional users in your trial. Make a couple of them admins and let the rest experience the LMS as a user. Create groups, assign users, run reports and watch any of the courses in our Business Skills and Workplace Compliance libraries.
As your team watches courses in the two-week trial, they will trigger the ej4 training reinforcement, 4tify your Learning™. These email notifications will prompt the follow-up questions two days after the training. The full series of reminders runs two days, two weeks, two months, and four months after the training event.
- How to Motivate Employees to Make Time for Training
- 8 Staff Training Ideas to Spice Up Your Learning
- How to Fight the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on September 28, 2016, and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.