How to improve memory retention with training software
October 06, 2017
Today, you can look up almost any fact or question in under a minute—a convenience that might actually be decreasing our memory retention. A theory called the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve hypothesizes that memory retention decreases overtime if humans do not attempt to retrieve it. In fact, people usually halve their memory of new knowledge within days or weeks of learning it.
This is a cause for concern in the workplace. According to a recent survey, 45 percent of employees spend a minimum of 15 minutes per week looking up information they learned in an employee training meeting. In a company with hundreds or thousands of employees, that translates to a massive amount of lost time and productivity.
While you can't expect employees to remember everything, successful employee training and development is dependent upon the employee's ability to retain certain pieces of knowledge. With online training software and learning management tools, workers can improve memory retention during learning sessions.
Here are a few ways online training software can improve memory.
Help retention with repetition
The Ebbinghaus forgetting curve, according to Examined Existence, teaches us that after you initially learn information, you need to revisit it a few times in order to properly remember it. If the information is not revisited, more of it will inevitably be forgotten.
According to that same survey, 46 percent of employees will use sticky notes to retain information and 47 percent will utilize a calendar. The problem? Calendars and sticky notes can get lost—not to mention the employee may not remember information correctly when transcribing it.
In contrast, learning software allows employees to go back and reexamine what they learned, which is effective in helping them improve memory retention. Online training software is accurate, accessible at any point and contains all the training knowledge employees need to review to ensure they are properly doing their jobs.
Spread out learning periods
The forgetting curve theory also concludes that spacing out learning and repetition helps people with their memory. Spaced repetition and learning involves spreading out the initial learning and repetitive learning over a period of a few days or weeks—instead of cramming information in over the course of a day or two.
In a traditional setting, employees may be required to attend a training session in-person and take notes or watch a video. They are not given access to their training materials and must learn it all at once. Online training software, however, allows and can encourage employees to learn at their own pace. They are not pressured to complete learning in a certain amount of time. Employees are able to learn information slowly, and retain it for much longer.
Prompt the learner
On a survey that tested students' ability to retain information, questions following learning were found to increase retention. The survey participants read essays on science topics—afterwards, half were given the chance to reread the essays, and half were asked a series of questions about what they initially read. Several days later, all the students were given an exam on what they had read. The ones who had answered the questions did significantly better.
The forgetting curve can be managed with follow-up questioning on online training softwares, such as exams and quizzes that employees need to complete and answer. This helps them memorize the information accurately and for longer periods of time.
Do you want an online training software that will help employees effectively retain information? Find out more about Cornerstone Performance's Learning Management System.