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4 Simple Insights That Help Increase Information Retention During and After Employee Training

Two months ago, I met with a friend at a coffee shop to do some catching up. He got his cappuccino, and I got my peach tea lemonade. Soon after, our conversation turned into a reflection on employee training. 

I must admit, my friend always asks excellent questions. This time, one question was more difficult than others.

For example, he shared that his Staff Development department runs employee training on the same topic several times, but most staff can barely remember the key information.

And he added, “Who should be blamed, the staff or the trainers?” I burst into laughter. Why? Because the blame game is common in the Learning and Development(L&D) field. We hear that kind of question all the time.  

On the one hand, most trainers tend to think most employees do not want to learn. On the other hand, staff view most employee training sessions (face-to face, e-Learning, blended) as dry, boring, and not relevant to their day-to-day job tasks.

OK, so we avoided the blame game and agreed, instead, on talking about what training professionals should do to help employees retain the information they learn.

Four simple insights

Let’s dive into four things my friend and I believe trainers should take into consideration:

1- Staff are mostly interested in information and skills that make their jobs easier. So, training sessions should be relevant to what employees do and to the company’s mission.

2- People remember content/information they think about in a meaningful way or that is embedded in their work context. Using work-related scenarios, case studies, simulations, and projects is the way to go.

But that won’t solve the problem of retention. What else should training professionals do? That leads me to the next point. 

3- Employees should revisit newly learned information as often as possible so it can stick. (In cognitive science this is called distributed practices.) Otherwise, they will lose it.

Distributed practices allow employees to use new information on the job. Using new information on the job makes knowledge transfer easier.

4- Tasks should not be too easy or too difficult. Why? From a cognitive science standpoint, most people enjoy solving problems! Doing so is enjoyable and motivating. But employees might get frustrated and bored if the tasks are too difficult.  And we all know people won’t remember boring information. 

What else do you want to add to this?  Add your input in the comment section below.

 Thanks for commenting and sharing this post with your L&D colleagues.

The coach
Coach Teddy Edouard develops Continuous Improvement(CI) processes and systems to help individuals and companies increase productivity, reach peak performance, maximize their impact, and save time, resources and energy.

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