We truly live in the golden age of information. All kinds of data fight it out every day for our attention, and tons of them actually get it – and usually not the best ones.
It’s no wonder that we have a problem remembering all those things that we actually need to remember. Even more so, the work-related knowledge that’s necessary for our every day lives. Because what we lack is “knowledge retention”, a term that basically describes our ability to remember what we have been taught.
And while eLearning might have revolutionized the corporate training industry in terms of costs, ease of deployment, and general efficiency, knowledge retention strategies and solutions are still areas that training instructors must focus on.
In this post, we’ll share 5 tips that will help your training retention rates improve dramatically.
The 5 Best Practices for Knowledge Retention
1. Stay relevant
The best way to have your audience remember what you want to teach them is to not mix it up with other stuff – like needless details, literary flourishes, historical overviews of the subject, non-pertinent asides, and so on. Nothing kills knowledge retention faster than a meandering course material.
In other words, stay focused ― and then your learners will be too.
That said, don’t just stay relevant to your core material. Also stay relevant to your employees’ needs. Explain how the skills you teach them will help them in their everyday work, and do so with actual examples.
2. Keep it simple
Keeping your training material focused is a must, but keeping it simple is also important.
Your learners have a lot of other things on their plates. Work-related stuff, busy personal lives, looming deadlines. They don’t have the time to patiently sit down and decipher complicated verbiage and labyrinthine sentences.
Nor do they want to see mathematical formulas rear their heads again ― they thought they were done with this stuff after school.
If you need to explain something, explain it as simply as you can. If you can say it with a picture or a video, do so (if a picture is worth “a thousand words”, imagine what a video would be). They are more engaging that streams of text.
Last, but not least, avoid complicated expressions and academic language.
3. Encourage repetition
Necessity might be the mother of invention, but repetition is the mother of learning.
We cannot repeat this enough (pun intended).
Strategically repeating key insights and core information throughout your courses will improve your employees’ knowledge retention rate.
Don’t assume that your learners will understand their material immediately. If a point is important, hammer it on until you’re certain that they got it.
Ask them to read complimentary material that reinforces those same points you want to stress, then leverage tests to check up on their retention of them.
4. Grab a bite
Remember our advice about keeping it small and simple? Take it to the next level, and make it bite-sized.
Using something like eFront’s mobile application for Android, you can serve your employees with bite-sized chunks of training material that they can consume anywhere and at any time.
Employee training statistics and research keep showing that microlearning increases knowledge retention and learner engagement – so you’ll be hitting two birds with one stone.
5. Make it playful
We learn best when we’re more engaged. And we’re more engaged when we’re not bored, when we are competing with others, or when we do both.
Adding an element of fun in your training shouldn’t be difficult, even if you are not a professional comedian. Some light jokes, some interesting pictures, some relevant multimedia, can all help raise the engagement factor of your training material.
To top it off, turn on the Gamification options in your LMS (eFront, for one, has plenty of those, and they are all tunable), and see how a little competitive spirit can go a long way in increasing learner engagement and, as a consequence, your employees’ retention of learning after their training.
How to retain knowledge, after all?
If you are to retain anything from this article is that knowledge retention issues can be difficult but they are not insurmountable. Just remember our tips and opt for the most suitable tools that will help you make your training memorable!