7 Ways to Retain Learnings Longer from Your Training

Most HR Managers, L&D Managers and learners are frustrated by how little they remember and use after a one day training course. As part of our unique ‘Sticky Learning ®‘ method we use a toolbox of tools to enable learners to retain their learnings longer. Here are a few of the tools that we use:

1. Don’t scribble on slides and handouts, create your own Keepers

Image of a hand with a bow round the index finger - Keepers
Most learners scribble on the slides and handouts that they receive from the trainer. They scribble with great intentions to review the learnings in the future. Sadly, 6 months later, in an impromptu desk tidy-up they reluctantly throw away the slides. And just like that all those learnings are gone.
A keepers form is designed with two objectives in mind; To enable the learner to create important cues to help jog their memory when they review their keepers. For example, who they were sitting next to. Or what they were wearing. The second objective is to be a place to capture those ‘golden nuggets’ of information. Or keepers, that the learners wish to keep. At the end of a day’s training the learner may only have 7 to 10 keepers. But the important part is that it is the learner’s keepers. And in the learner’s handwriting.  And that is what is important to the learner. Not a deck of mass-produced slides. But a page of the learner’s notes that they want to keep and in their handwriting. To receive a copy of the Keepers template please contact us.

2. Mind-maps work in the way that the brain likes to remember

Most people have heard of mind mapping. Yet few use the potential of mind mapping to improve their performance at work. Mind maps are a powerful tool for freeing your brain. Imagine you have a big project starting soon. The downside of using lists is that the brain tries to do two things; Write a list of items and secondly try to put them in order. The brain struggles to do both well at the same time.
Mind mapping enables your brain to write down whatever it wants about the project. And that is without being hamstrung by having to also have put it in an order. Mind maps are an alternative to a Keepers form. Either tool, keepers or mind maps, is very effective for capturing learnings. Tony Buzan, the creator of Mind mapping explains how to mind map in this 5 minute video below:

3. Radio Wii-FM

Radio Wii-FM is about ‘What’s in it for me?’. We’ve all been to training courses and almost ‘rocked-up and expected the trainer to entertain us’. To get more from our training we need it to matter and in order for the training to matter we need to identify why we are there. In essence, What’s in it for me? If we can make the learnings matter to us because they either solve a problem for us, or help us do something better, we’ll engage more, question more, listen more and retain the learnings more, and for longer.
In our unique Sticky Learning ® method we use an ‘Individual Learning Objective’ – To access an exclusive ‘Individual Learning Objective’ webpage please contact us.

4. We forget 80% within 30 days

According to the founder of the ‘Forgetting Curve’ we forget 80% of what we have learnt within 30 days. Herrmann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, discovered in the mid 1800’s that we forget over time. Today this research is not surprising, but the amount we forget and how quickly is. Ebbinghaus said that we forget huge amounts of what we have learnt quickly unless we can help ourselves to remember.
‘Spaced repetition’ is one of the ways that will help us remember more. Simply, it is about reviewing your keepers or mind maps frequently. Once per month, until the learnings are locked-in and used.
In our unique ‘Sticky Learning ®‘ method we use ‘Sticky Pieces’ timed at the appropriate moment that the memory drops occur to help learners to retain more of their learnings by doing appropriate activities – To access an exclusive page that shows how Sticky Pieces work please contact us.
Picture of Forgetting Curve Chart - Sticky Learning from MBM

5. The next 24 hours are critical

Stephen Covey, the author of ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People‘, teaches us that the first 24 hours after you learn something new is critical. One of the fastest ways to lock in your new learnings is to teach someone else. This works because the act of teaching someone else what we have learnt forces us to have digested the learnings, understood the learnings and then put the learnings in our own words and be ready for questions. By doing this act we re-live the learnings over and over because we all want to look competent when we teach someone else.

 6. Forming habits helps us remember

BJ Fogg, a professor at Stanford University, and the modern father of understanding habits, tells us that forming habits is dependent on your ability and your motivation. Using this graph below will help a learner to identify where they are with a particular habit they are trying to form. It can also help you understand why the habit is failing and how you can help form the habit more easily. One of the habits we encourage learners to form from our Time Management training course is to write a to do list daily. Knowing where the learner sits on this graph and knowing that a task needs to be repeated 21 times in a month to become a habit helps them understand the challenge.
In our unique Sticky Learning ® method learners engage in a ‘Learning to Learn’ training course before they begin learning with us because most learners do not know how to retain their learnings.
Fogg Behaviour Model Motivation / Ability

7. Am I going mad? Talking to myself.

‘Spaced Repetition’ is one of the ‘7 Ways to Retain Learnings Longer from Your Training’, as you have read above.
To build further on reliving, re-learning, and reviewing your mind maps or keepers, is to understand that there is a useful model that will help you to achieve sustainable learning. This is ‘VKA’; ‘Visual’, ‘Kinesthetic’ and ‘Auditory’. Simply put, these are the three ways that we receive input. Therefore by re-writing your mind maps/keepers each month and reading aloud the notes, as you write, you will appeal to all 3 forms of input. Visual – You’ll see the notes being written, Kinesthetic (from the Greek ‘kinein’ – to move), you’ll feel the pen moving as you write and Auditory – You’ll hear yourself speak the words.
To see all the tools in our toolbox that enable learners to retain learnings longer from their training, please contact us.
What do you do to keep your learnings for longer? Please share your view by commenting below.

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