A few days back, I happened to encounter a familiar sight where a parent was reminding the child about certain answers through visual clues, allowing the child to recall what had been learnt earlier. This reminded me of the graduation days when we used to repeatedly draw and recite and keep flash cards to revise the things before any major examination. That is talking about pedagogy, what about andragogy then?
How do corporate learners retain knowledge? How often is a training rendered futile because the learners tend to forget most of it? A Report by SAVO Group revealed that, ““Just 7 days after a training session, the average employee will have forgotten 65 percent of the material covered. What’s worse — after six months, that number jumps to 90 percent.” Alarming indeed considering the time and effort that goes behind each training session. So, what needs to be done?
Reinforcement Indeed! And how? Here are a few tips.
Tip 1: Incorporate it as a part of the training goal
Firstly, it is imperative to understand that reinforcement is not about sending reminders and asking the learners to revise what they have learnt. It is more about inculcating a habit of learning and initiating behavioural change. The design and concept of reinforcement should be devised along with the training for best results. It has to happen in the beginning itself so that all stake holders’ views are taken into consideration.
Tip 2: Consider the channel of reinforcement
With a vast of availability of various mediums Microlearning, Video-based learning, Infographics etc. are good channels to reinforce learning and deliver on-the-job support. Selecting the right model that goes hand in hand with the training goals is one way to ensure that the learning is truly imparted and reinforced. Most of the time it could be a blended model as well clubbed with some online-offline sessions
Tip 3: Get started immediately after training
Based on SAVO Group’s report the minimum retention period for training is about a week, but reinforcement needs to start right from when the training ends. Start with a quick quiz to analyse the immediate level of understanding, follow up by providing training handouts that highlight the key information (with diagrams and illustrationsif need be). This can act as a quick reference for learners when required.
Also utilize the internal communication channels to send out posters, additional information, newsletters, quick quizzes, daily teasers and tips to assist learners in refining their knowledge from time to time.
Tip 4: Keep monitoring
Observation is the key to learning how well the training is being implemented. The managers and training leads have a huge role to play here. They have to constantly find ways to assist the learners while on job to bring out the best outcomes by providing positive inputs and correcting the errors. Cautiously this process has to be a constructive and positive in nature.
Tip 5: Assessment & Re-training
Don’t let training to be just forgotten. Plan out a periodic assessment and evaluation cycle, where in the learners can find out areas that need improvement and seek out ways to fill the gaps. Allow the learners to retake training if required.
Repetition is often the key to reinforcement, but that doesn’t mean iterations in content or forced revisions. The key is to have a proper reinforcement plan in place making best use of multimedia and small nuggets of information. While repetition helps in boosting the confidence and giving a stronger grasp around the concept, there should be equal opportunities for the learning to be applied too. Gamification, Social Learning etc. too are great ways to reinforce learning, after all today’s learners learn better through interaction.
As mentioned in the beginning, reinforcement is more about building a mind map for recalling complex concepts, often by relating it with more common examples or visuals. In terms of corporate learning, training, training reinforcement and implementation all starts right from the instructional design phase, and requires proper planning, design and deployment.
What are your suggestions about reinforcement of learning? Do share your thoughts.