Wouldn’t it be nice if everything we learned stayed with us? If all information given during a class was never forgotten? Unfortunately, that isn’t how the human brain works.
After just one hour, the average person forgets more than half of the information that was presented to them. After a day, we forget over 70% of what we learned in a class. Anything that isn’t deeply ingrained in our daily work is more likely to be lost as well.
Several factors influence knowledge retention, like sleep. A human being needs a full night of sleep within 30 hours of learning something new.
The way information is presented also factors into our ability to remember it. Most people absorb information better if it is delivered in a visual format. Neurons devoted to processing visual data utilize approximately 30% of the brain’s cortex. That’s a lot of brain power dedicated to processing what our eyes see.
The knowledge we take in will decay over time if it goes unused. That’s why it’s important to apply the information and take refresher courses as needed.
Science has studied the human brain for decades. We have learned a lot about how we retain knowledge and develop new skills. Businesses can now use this information to improve their employee training programs.
What can you do to increase knowledge retention in your online training courses?
Tell the Same Story in Different Ways
Telling a story multiple ways will give learners a better perspective on the material. Only using one approach makes it harder to apply the information in real life situations.
For example, no one would want to go to a surgeon in training who has only read about surgery. They need more instruction than that, including visuals like videos, images, and simulations, before they can get good at what they do.
The average training class includes different types of learners. Delivering information using multiple methods will make it more likely to reach all or most of them. If you only use one approach, then chances are you will not effectively reach as much as two-thirds of your training class.
Start Using Microlearning
Microlearning has proven to be beneficial in business training. It’s fast, efficient, and significantly increases knowledge retention.
One of the common problems trainees run into is information overload. When too much is given to them at once, it makes it harder to remember even a portion of what was taught. By delivering content into smaller pieces, trainees are more likely to retain knowledge and build their skill set.
Make Training Courses Interactive
Your training courses should include interactive elements. These are more engaging and interesting to trainees. Interactive content allows them to take an active role in the training process.
There are many ways to incorporate this into your training program. You can add simulations that let trainees get hands-on without putting resources or others at risk. Interactive videos are also a popular resource. Video content is accompanied by pop-up facts, highlights, or questions that spark conversation.
If you don’t have one already, you need an LMS that supports interactive features. A platform that does will give you more flexibility when building your content.
Motivate Trainees with Exams
Exams and quizzes do two things. First, they show you what information your trainees have retained and what they have not. They also encourage trainees to actively try to absorb knowledge. If they know that they will be tested, they will be more motivated to pay attention and revisit the material if needed.
If some of your content produces consistently low test or quiz scores, it may be time to take a closer look at that part of your training program.
Build Relatable Training Content
The more relatable content is, the easier it will be to remember. Storytelling is a powerful tool in education. Present information with relatable characters and scenarios. Pull the learner’s attention in and demonstrate the information or instructions provided.
This is another good opportunity to use video and images in your training content. You can reach more types of learners this way and help them build the strong associations that increase knowledge retention.
Use New Skills and Information
Trainees should be encouraged to use the new skills and information they studied in their courses. The more knowledge is used, the more ingrained it becomes in our brains.
After completing a course or module, have a meeting or conversation about the material. Ask follow-up questions or work through roleplay scenarios. This will help trainees learn and remember, even if they are not ready to start using the information in their job roles yet.
Recommend Related Courses
Continuous learning is a key focus for many businesses. Companies that have teams that are always learning tend to perform better and make more money. It’s also good for knowledge retention.
Have a system in place to recommend courses after completing another course. These should be related to help employees build on what they just learned. It’s another opportunity to use that knowledge and increase retention. It also helps them develop more skills and increase their value to their teams.
Many LMS platforms offer recommendation engines. These automatically suggest content that’s relevant to what the learner is working on or has completed. Many allow admins to add content to recommendations manually or use a built-in AI that adapts to learner behaviors.
Use Visuals Like Diagrams
Diagrams and charts are another way to display information that gives learners a visual advantage. Even if data can be written out in text, consider creating a diagram. Adding colors and shapes will make it more attention-grabbing. Visuals present the information in a format that is more likely to be remembered.
Associate with Sensory Details
Associating new information with something a person knows or remembers can help them retain knowledge. Use sensory details to build those associations. Visual elements help but don’t forget to include verbs that describe actions and analogies to encourage understanding and meaning.
Facts are important, but there are many ways to make them more memorable. One of the best ways to do so is to use multiple senses. Paint a picture or stir an emotional response. The amygdala prioritizes information that it interprets as having a high emotional value. When this occurs, it’s easier to recall the stimuli later.
Set Learning Goals
Every person on your team should have learning goals. These give trainees something to work toward. It also helps them understand what skills and information they need to move up. It is a strong motivator that guides trainees.
When they know they need to remember something to reach a goal, they will be more likely to take steps to retain it.
Increase Knowledge Retention with the Right LMS
A good training program starts with the right LMS. Many platforms offer features that increase knowledge retention and make training more efficient and cost-effective. Find out which offers the best tools for your team by visiting LMS.org.