How many times have you attended a training seminar only to walk out the door and start your journey on the Forgetting Curve? Some studies indicate that without training reinforcement, we will forget half of what we learned immediately following the training. After 6 months to a year we can forget upwards of 75% or more of what we learned. Other studies suggest a higher learning loss of up to 90% after a week.
The reality is that nobody needs statistics to understand our own personal experience of how quickly we can forget information. In a business environment, it translates to millions of dollars wasted each year in training that does not make it to the front line when it’s needed the most. If you’re not reinforcing your training, you may be losing nearly all the investment you put in.
Below is just one representation of diminished knowledge retention over 60 days, a forgetting curve in its simplest form.
Slide from Sidsavara.com
The Forgetting Curve was recognized as early as 1885 by Hermann Ebbinghaus who crafted an experiment using himself as the subject to plot a forgetting curve. Using nonsensical word syllables to avoid memory bias, he measured his memory after attempting to learn them. He plotted the lowest retention shortly after the first learning attempt. What you will see in his graph below is a remarkable retention rate increase as additional learning repetitions are effected over time. Consistency over repetition is a classic example of how the Ebbinghaus Curve reinforces learning over time.
Invista Performance Solutions understands the benefit of the post-training reinforcement practices; we build them into all our training programs.
These can include some of the following methods:
1. COACHING—Group or Individual Coaching
IPS has successfully implemented group coaching by internal managers or external coaches following training delivery in different programs. For example, participants at RPI in a Supervisory Development program called “Managing the Seasonal Workforce” had the opportunity to use their recently learned skills during the peak season. After the peak they regrouped with their peers in multiple facilitated group coaching sessions. They reinforced positive experiences, figured out what worked well, and collaborated on what could be done better next time.
At a De-Escalation training program for frontline staff at Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, IPS provided follow-up group coaching to ensure learned behavior was being used properly when the need emerged or if there were any complications using the learned skills in real situations.
We use post-training assignments—we e-mail trainees exercises, activities, or articles to read to ensure they stay engaged with their learning. IPS can also use your company LMS, or our college LMS called CANVAS, to present post-training assignments. Participants log-in and work on those assignments either individually or in groups assigned during the training.
At Red Wind Casino’s Tribal Enterprise and Gaming Management program, we engage participants twice a week in the classroom and also provide assignments in CANVAS to reinforce their learning in Leadership, Supervision, or HR practices. We ask them to reflect on a key learning point, write about their ideas, or react to a case study.
3. SOCIAL LEARNING NETWORKS
IPS launches a web-based blog, discussion thread, or wiki where participants can interact about learning, and with the instructor and each other in an on-going manner, dialoguing or responding to case studies, stories, videos, and examples. Participants engage with each other and maintain their learning experience outside of class.
4. JOB AIDES
These reinforce behaviors for certain kinds of tasks that are lower in frequency but higher in complexity, and subject to regular change. Tacoma Pierce County Health Department employees were given a job aide to keep at their workstation as a reference on how to process challenging situations requiring de-escalation. The job aide listed the simple steps practiced in training.
Read more here to make sure your people get the most from their training and bridge the gap better than less robust training plans.