How to make sure learners store information in their long term memory?

Learning and Development have become the prime focus of companies these days to make sure that the workforce is acquainted with new skills every day. But learners soon forget what they have learnt.

There is the forgetting curve by Hermann Ebbinghaus which was developed in 1885. It says that human beings soon forget what is ingrained in their short term knowledge. Within 24 hours, they tend to forget 45% of new information imbibed by them. Within a month, they have forgotten almost 79% of the information retained by them.

As per this curve, there must be an active recall of information of human beings so that it gets embedded into their long term memory so that they can’t forget it.

There is also another way to make sure that information is directly embedded into the long term memory of a learner rather than it first going into the short term memory. This way is known as Spaced Learning. Spaced learning makes sure that the condensed material is taught to the learner three times within 2 breaks of 10 minutes in between. It creates an environment of long term learning. Spaced learning ensures that learners can recall more.

How to test knowledge retention?

There are two aspects of learning. Both of them are dependent on time because learning often degrades with time. We need to check how efficient is learning input and second is testing of the input. Firstly, there needs to be consideration of spacing between the learning inputs to ensure that it is embedded into long term memory.

Secondly, there also needs to be testing done after some time to see what the learner has retained. The testing decides how efficient is the learning input so that the learner retains it. So, it’s important to see how much the learner has grasped up during the learning process. For this purpose, it’s important to test his knowledge after some time to see what he has forgotten or not. As per studies, 79% of knowledge is relieved from the memory within a month. So, the learners should be tested more often to see what they have retained. Depending on what they have forgotten or retained, they can be made to recall.

How to have the most advantageous training?

The aim of training can only be fulfilled once the learners retain knowledge long after the training is over. So, for this purpose, they need to apply the knowledge whatever they have grasped during training. For this purpose, this knowledge has to be embedded in long term memory. So, this knowledge needs to be recalled quite often for it to get embedded in the long term memory.

For this purpose, the training method of the trainer affects also. The short term memory needs to be tested again and learning information recalled for information to get stored in long term memory.

There has to be testing done at the proper moment. It’s important because the learners might forget more as time elapses due to the Ebbinghaus curve. For example, if a learner forgets 79% of the information after a month, how will he be appropriate for a certification? This certification is necessary for some professions such as security workers. That’s why such learners must be checked after 1 week when they are likely to retain at least some of the information.

There are many ways, apart from active recall to make sure that the learning methodology yields the best of results. They are as follows:

Active recall: As already discussed, this method boosts memory. So, the learners should be tested for the information stored in their long term memory.

Higher clarity: It also makes sure that the learner can retain a large part of the information. He can retain 100% of the information for 3 days if the information is shown to him through a diagram rather than an essay or an article. It’s because videos and diagrams provide more clarity to a learner about what is being taught.

Training should be focused: Your learning should focus on the learning objectives of the learner. This implies that the learner should not be taught through a course which isn’t tailor-made. Tailormade training can only make learner recall the information easily. With a higher retention rate, the training is more impactful.

Learning can also involve elements such as game-based learning. This makes sure that the retention rate of the information is as high as 100% to 6 days. So, this is how training should be imparted to learners.



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