• 4 min read

Employees forget up to 50% of what they learned within an hour.

One of the biggest obstacles preventing L&D effectiveness is an employee’s ability to retain knowledge that is critical to their job.

Considering that over 60% of companies expect employees to use learning resources weekly, daily or more often to effectively perform their tasks, an inability to understand and apply knowledge can have major consequences on productivity and the quality of an employee’s work.

The research into employee knowledge retention paints an alarming picture, but the good news is that learning technology can help resolve many of the issues that these numbers bring to light.

Here are three shocking facts about employee knowledge retention and how a learning platform can help:

1. One-third of employees don’t think the training materials they’re provided are interesting or engaging.

If your training materials aren’t engaging to begin with, you can all but guarantee this will negatively impact an employee’s initial experiences with your company and their knowledge retention going forward.

Outdated training materials, such as lengthy PowerPoint presentations or 40-page booklets, just won’t cut it – the majority of today’s workforce expects almost every aspect of their jobs to be supported by digital resources.  

In fact, making the move to digital learning is one of the first steps to take when overhauling your learning programs. Doing so with a learning platform gives employees greater control over their training, empowering them to dive in when it works best for their schedule, meaning peak activity hours remain uninterrupted. Your teams can access training anytime, on the go, and the self-paced nature serves as a primer to prepare participants for instructor-led classes.

But it’s also important to note that traditional learning resources won’t always translate into engaging digital learning content. Course authoring tools that integrate with your learning platform allow L&D admins to inject their course content into a variety of content formats to elevate the user experience and their engagement with learning materials.

2. Workers will forget up to 50% of what they just learned – within an hour.

Within a day, your learner will forget 70%, and within a month, 90% of what they learned.

This phenomenon, known scientifically as Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve , highlights the fact that formal, one-off learning sessions, such as a one-day employee orientation programs aren’t good enough. Use the 70:20:10 methodology as a guideline for learning program structure, with a blend of formal and informal approaches as this reflects how people actually learn in real-life.

Learning from your peers while carrying out tasks is what we call social learning and research shows knowledge retention rates as high as 70% when social learning approaches are employed . Rather than relying on typical, formal training environments with low recollection rates, social learning allows learning to happen in the working environment.

Learning platforms that facilitate social learning are key to combating the impact of the Forgetting Curve. Features like course discussion forums as well as the ability for all users to create, upload and share useful insights can help foster an environment where knowledge is effectively shared and retained.

3. Almost 40% of workers ask Google about their job-related tasks

Once again, poor on-the-job training is a big contributor to the issue here, with employees saying that because learning tools are out of date, they are more likely to tap Google as a go-to source for help instead of consulting a coworker.

Addressing learning at the point of need is paramount. Make it easy for employees to find what they need, when they need it.

Instead of dumping content into a series of exhausting full-day workshops, avoid information overload by devising a roadmap that supports and directs the learning process, and make available mentors and coaches for staff to learn from during onboarding.

It can be helpful for the manager and the trainee to discuss their respective vision for the role, define successful performance, goals and identify necessary resources.

Fortunately, learning platforms can assist in this process through built-in analytics and data reporting that will allow learning administrators to gain visibility into training effectiveness.

The ability to analyze metrics to identify learning gaps is critical because it helps to paint the full picture of a learner’s progress. L&D professionals may assume from a simple assessment score that a course was a success, when in reality, staff may have not fully grasped material as much as they could have. Learning analytics can allow users to dive into numbers surrounding course completion and interaction to gauge where improvement or retraining is needed.

Support Technology with Best Practices

A learning platform may help you provide more engaging training materials, facilitate social learning, and gain visibility into your learner activities, but it won’t yield optimal results if you’re not implementing learning best practices to begin with.

Having solid learning foundations in place should be your first priority but learning technology can certainly aid in making important information stick in employee minds, ” says Brian Westfall, Principal Analyst at Capterra.

Use the right learning technology to improve your learning programs and increase employee knowledge retention.

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