Practical Tools to Enhance Training Reinforcement

There’s an old saying that says, “Knowing is half the battle.” That’s true, and a good reminder of the importance of learning. Still, it leaves one wondering “What’s the other half?”

Answering that question is not just playing arm-chair philosopher by pondering a proverb. There are real-world implications hidden in that quote. When 80 percent of training courses fail to be recalled by employees, it is important to understand what other elements are needed to retain and apply training information—and how those elements can be worked into existing programs.

Reinforcing Training: An eLearning Example

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 ways to do this, especially if you use eLearning in your training mix:

Reminder videos. Suppose you have your sales team sit through a few hours worth of training, taking notes and asking questions. 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 plans, schedules, and 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 “CliffsNotes” version of that training in the form of a one- to two-minute video highlighting the main ideas. This re-exposes them to the content, jogging their memory and helping them decipher their notes. Will their recall be better now?

Of course. The more information can be reviewed, the better it will be recalled. Short-form videos are one way to provide this without taking up much more of an employee’s time.

Questions and quizzes. People are more likely to remember information that they must use to answer a question or figure out a problem. That kind of 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.

Questions can be a natural addition to the reminder videos mentioned above. For example, an LMS can schedule a reminder video, setting the context for the question(s), and then quiz the employee directly afterward. Results can be tracked and used to determine future training.

Using data to track and adjust. Just how can future training be determined by tracked data? At the very least, you can set score standards (learning KPIs, if you will) and see which employees are meeting them. Those that are not might need additional materials, help, motivation, or all three.

But you can go beyond individual achievement as well. For example, you could look across students to see if there are any patterns with regard to groups, courses, or general topics. Perhaps particular topics resonate, or others prove to be difficult. Understanding which courses are popular and which are lacking participation can help you measure your training progress and communicate future training goals. If courses or topics are difficult, you can break content into smaller digestible bits. If a course or topic is easily mastered, perhaps you can provide an accelerated offering. There are many ways to tweak your training if you have the right sorts of information.

To see how a modern LMS can help automate reminders, probe learning, and track data, sign up for a free trial of Thinkzoom. We can provide you with a tour of these features and show how they can be used to create a practical training reinforcement program.

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