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Want to Boost Learner Retention?

At DevLearn 2014, I attended a workshop entitled “Building Online Training to Promote Learning Transfer and Behavior Change,” presented by Art Kohn. It completely changed the way I’ve approached training design.

During the session, Mr. Kohn stated that the latest version of Adobe Captivate will ultimately have very little impact on a learner’s retention. Likewise, reviewing notes or highlighted passages in a book or even job aids have little impact on retention.

What has the most significant impact on learner retention? Small follow-up quizzing called “learning boosts.”

Learning boosts aren’t just a buzz wordy fad being preached by some nutty academic presenter trying to push his latest theory. The concept of learning boosts are rooted in neuroscience and research conducted by people who are much smarter than I am (so if you’d like to explore the concept or the science in more depth, pick up a copy of Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning).

How do learning boosts work? Mr. Kohn’s model, which I like because it’s simple and straight forward, is called 2/2/2 (keep in mind that this model is simply his way of applying the research to his teaching practice; there are many different ways to apply the concept of learning boosts).

First: Send learners a multiple choice quiz about your content two days after a learning event. This can be something as simple as a 5-question quiz that could take 30 seconds to complete.

Second: Send learners a quiz requiring short answers two weeks after a learning event.

Third: Send learners a short questionnaire asking how they’ve applied your content two months after a learning event.

If you’ve been reading Train Like A Champion blog posts for the past week or so, why don’t you test your memory:

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Why didn’t I include any questions about today’s blog post? The research shows that if you want to improve longer-term retention, then there needs to be some space between when someone initially learns something and when they’re tested. If you truly want to be tested on today’s content, be sure to come back to my blog next week (or just hit the subscribe button at the top).

In case you’re wondering, the answers are: Tweet Chat, One and The average person isn’t even aware of what’s possible.

Know someone who might be interested in this “learning boost” concept? Please pass this article along!



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