Why Your Learners Forget and How to Maximize Learning Retention

Peter PsichogiosEmployee Development, Learning

The Association for Talent Development recently reported that, “Effective long-term learning is rarely achieved by a one-off event, but designers all too often think of one-off events when building training solutions. However, as soon as the event ends, forgetting is likely to begin.

So how do we fix the problem with forgetting?  Answer: Don’t overload your people with too much new information at once.  To have both effective and efficient learning, and also minimize forgetting in learners, there is a method proven to benefit both learning retention AND retrieval.  This method (described below) is calledlayered learning or spaced learning. 

Give your employees their learning:

  • in bite-size, digestible doses
  • repeated and reinforced
  • until they understand it and are comfortable with it.

That is, repeat it until they get it and can retrieve it. This creates the sweet spot where change takes hold!

The Importance of Continuous Growth

Nothing will change in your organization until your people learn something new!   If you just focus on learning and development for on boarding new employees, over time this will stunt not only their growth at an individual level, but also growth at a corporate level.  If your people aren’t learning and growing then your business is staying stagnant. Find out How to Tell If Your Employee Training Sucks (And What To Do About It If It Does).

Good employees want to learn and grow.  They want skills that make them more marketable now and in the future. If your organization doesn’t give it to them, they’ll find it somewhere else, so it’s to your company’s benefit to encourage growth and foster a culture focused on learning whether it be through a formal learning program or through coaching, mentoring, shadowing peers/higher ups, etc.

The benefits of continuous learning for employees include, increased engagement, professional development and growth, becoming more marketable, and improvement in their skills to serve both internal and external customers.  These employee benefits also translate into many benefits for your organization as well including, better service, increased productivity and better employee retention. 

Importance of Just-In-Time Learning & Mobile Learning

When you focus on continuous growth and you want to account for your learners’ long term retention and retrieval, you must consider the importance of just-in-time and mobile learning.  Your talent is busy, and they want their learning, when and where they want it.  Providing them with just-in-time learning opportunities on their mobile devices, allows them to digest the learning easily in a familiar environment, and transfer the learning immediately to a real-life environment.  When they’re able to do that and practice their learning in a real-life situation, they’re much more likely to remember what they’ve just learned.

GES’s Layered Learning Approach

Our approach is unique in that it teaches skills and competencies in short and succinct bites over time, repeated, reinforced, and followed up with actionable principles, enabling your employees with the knowledge to do the right thing, the right way, at the right time, for the right reasons.  The layered learning platform offers built-in measurement and tracking and it is seamlessly multi-device and multi-language capable.  Find out more about the layered learning approach and our custom learning programs here.