The forgetting curve is every training leader's biggest nightmare. It implies the degrading knowledge retention of the human mind (over the time) that directly impacts the company's ROI. Is it possible to tweak your employees' learning curve? How can you counter this forgetting curve?
Also known as the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve, it is a description of how the brain's ability to retain information decreases over time.
It is based on a theory that a human brain starts losing out on information after days and weeks of consuming it.
As time passes by, the brain is subsequently unable to implement the knowledge effectively unless engaged in a constant process of learning and re-learning.
Imagine a scenario.
You have planned a two-day training with one of the greatest trainers in the country and pulled your most expensive employees out from work for the training.
After some days, you find that even your most talented employees are unable to recall and reiterate, let alone apply, the learning they received. This maybe due to the following reasons:
As mentioned, time is of the essence. Learning can only be beneficial if the time gap between learning and implementation is not large. If you look at the forgetting curve graph, there is a significant drop in retention as the time passes.
The stronger the memories, the longer they tend to stick around in our minds.This is relevant when it comes to employee learning and training as well.
We live in a fairly technical world where automation is pretty much affecting everything. When employees are coerced to go into conventional learning methods, they are more likely to be bored and absorb less information rather if they were automated.
This further amplifies the Forgetting Curve phenomenon.
You can use learning automation not only for your digital learning initiatives but also to maximize the ROI from the classroom training.
While you can blame biology for this, you have to figure out how you can overcome the knowledge fatigue depicted by the Forgetting Curve.
How can you ensure that your organization does not suffer due to this? The answer lies in learning automation.
Provide a short pre-training learning or assessment module to the people nominated for the training. This ensures that people get into the training with some preparation and absorb the training better . Also, you and the trainer can figure out the areas of focus from the learning analytics of the pre-training module.
Use a summary module to provide a recall for the attendees. Ensure that you do this within two to three days of the training.This includes lessons learned, practical training and situational learning where employees are able to categorize the knowledge gained into separate mind boxes and recall them whenever necessary.
Ebbinghaus clearly stated it is easier to recall information if applied in regular intervals. The shorter the time span between learning and re-learning the greater the chance of combating the Forgetting Curve.
Re-learning or spaced learning is one of the most crucial steps in reshaping that Forgetting Curve. They allow the learners to revisit and consume whatever they have learned in the past in bite-sized chunks. Going through the entire context might be overwhelming for most that will turn them away from getting the most out of the training.
The training and development team can create a regular stream of micro learning nuggets that the attendees can go through. These can be as short as 5-10 minutes learning modules, and it is even better if these are interactions or assessments.
The Forgetting Curve is more likely to be a reality for your employees if they are not engaged or clear about the learning material to begin with. By making information easy-to-understand, the training teams can improve information retention for the employees.
Gamified learning is one way to improve engagement and therefore retention. Visual data representations also help clarify the training content and make it digestible for the employees.
The human brain retains selectively and is often picky about what it would like to remember and what it would like to discard. This naturally boosts the forgetting curve.
This is where relevant learning content can help. While planning your training module, focus on how you can connect the learning material with your employees' scope of job and relative details.
By considering this employee journey while creating the training content, the L&D team will help him/her connect the dots and make these training sessions a more meaningful experience. As a result, their brain will be more likely to retain the information.
How can you make your training content relevant?
The planning is as easy as that. Would you agree that this would result in your training being more effective? Let me know what you think by sending me an email.
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