How to Retain What You Learn and Protect Your Training Investment

How to Retain What You Learn and Protect Your Training InvestmentYou attend a training session and two weeks later you’ve forgotten most of what you learned. What does this mean? Money spent on the training is pretty much wasted.

Training is an investment, in some cases an expensive one. How can you ensure that you get a good return on that investment? The answer is knowledge retention! With a little bit of focused effort, you can increase your knowledge retention level to 90%. For example, applying your new knowledge within a few hours of training dramatically increases retention.

What can you do to increase your knowledge retention? Here are a few tips for you to consider:

Take notes throughout the training. Note taking increases retention — even if you don’t refer to them again. The simple process of writing or typing reinforces what you learn.

Pay close attention to any videos or visuals. Many people retain more through audio-visual elements as opposed to just reading.

Take a few moments to reflect on what you learned, why it’s important and how it applies to you. This is really about finding deeper meaning in what you learn.

If possible, apply your learning as soon as possible. Doing so, takes the learning from conceptual to practical and puts the learning into context for you. As I mentioned earlier, the sooner you can apply your learning, the higher your knowledge retention.

Engage in discussion. Talking with others about what you’ve learned increases your level of understanding and reinforces your learning.

Coach/train others. One of the best ways to retain knowledge is to explain something to others through coaching or training. In fact, in doing so, you not only retain knowledge but often become an expert.

To put this in perspective and demonstrate the retention levels associated with some of the activities recommended above, learners typically retain:

90% of what they learn when they teach someone else/use immediately.

75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.

50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.

30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration.

20% of what they learn from audio-visual.

10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading.

5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from lecture.

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