10 Facts & Stats About Learning Retention You’ll Want to Remember

Get 10 facts & stats about learning retention to help you deliver effective & memorable workplace training designed around people’s needs.
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Learning and development matters—it keeps your workforce agile and gives them the skills they need for success. They’re also more likely to be motivated and inspired when they have access to training, as LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report found that the top driver of exceptional workplace culture in 2022 is learning and development opportunities (up from ninth place in 2021).

To make the most of these opportunities and deliver an effective workforce learning program tailored to your employee’s needs, it’s useful to understand how they learn—and how they retain information. 

And the first step in creating effective training is to understand the best ways to drive learning retention.

10 Unforgettable Facts About Learning Retention

It’s easy to forget. In fact, see if you can recall the first paragraph of this blog post from memory. No peeking! 

It’s not easy, is it? 

It’s likely you’ll already have forgotten the exact words and will only have a general sense of their meaning. That’s after a matter of seconds—if you apply that to learning new skills over extended periods, you can see that it’s essential to make your training as memorable as possible. 

Here are ten facts about learning retention that’ll help you deliver an unforgettable experience to your employees:

1) Exercise Improves Memory and Skills Learning

Employees should be taking time away from their desks during the day, but there’s evidence that creating healthy routines through exercise can increase memory too. Findings show that bursts of physical activity as short as 15 minutes can improve memory and streamline skills acquisition.

2) Microlearning Drives Learning Retention and Engagement

Microlearning is an effective way to deliver short, targeted pieces of content to learners without overwhelming them, as a study states that short-term memory can only manage around four elements at a time. The same study surveyed learning professionals about their experience of microlearning and found that 71% see its potential to increase knowledge retention and nearly 68% believe it can drive engagement.

3) Making Mistakes Can Improve Memory

Mistakes aren’t always a bad thing! According to a phenomenon known as the derring effect, making mistakes on purpose and then correcting them can improve meaningful learning, memory, and test performance. Though learners don’t realize the benefits of making mistakes, results show that learners remembered more of what they’d learned and could apply it more effectively. As you design learning programs, look out for opportunities to let people reflect on their mistakes in a safe place and show them it’s ok to fail.

4) Large Images Make Facts Easier to Remember

A study of images shows that memory is impacted by image size and learners remember large visuals 1.5 times better than smaller images. When it comes to training, it’s likely that learners will remember more by using larger screens and bigger, bolder images.

5) Color Can Make Content 39% More Memorable

How you present your courses matters—findings reveal that adding color to your materials can increase readership rates and help retain information. If you want your learners to engage with content and retain more information, make your courses stand out!

6) Active Learning Increases Post-Course Competency

Active learning in the workplace is one of the most effective ways to improve competence through learning retention, according to a 2022 study. Training delivered through hands-on activities, gamification, and group discussion can result in greater knowledge retention, as active learners retained 93.5% of previously learned information compared to only 79% for passive learners after one month.

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7) Personalized Learning Helps Learners Retain More Information

Understanding your learners’ motivations, habits, and goals is key to creating personalized journeys. As technology evolves, industries are leveraging technology such as AR and VR to create more personalized experiences and improve results. Learners who used 3D VR to immerse themselves in an environment tailored to their individual needs remembered 30% more data and scored 20% higher on tests, according to a 2021 research paper.

8) Repetition Improves Long-Term Memory

Repetition is important and increasing repetition can improve long-term memory by 35%. By repeating key information, learners will more easily be able to call upon the information they’ve already seen.

9) Taking Breaks Makes Memory Recall More Effective

Downtime is essential for health and wellbeing, but it could aid learning retention too. Research shows that when developing a new skill is separated by short periods of rest, the memory becomes stronger and performance develops 20 times faster. Rest allows your people to learn quickly, remember what they’ve been taught, and apply their new skills to the job.

10) Video Captions Increase Understanding by 56%

Visual and text learning don’t have to be an either/or proposition—it turns out they’re more effective when used together. Video captions can increase user comprehension by up to 56%, leading to greater retention.

How to Improve Learning Retention in the Workplace

Not all workplace learning is doomed to be forgotten! You have the power to create employee training in a way that encourages information recall and adds value. 

Employees not only need better retention tools and strategies to do their jobs better, but they also want them. Here are some steps you can take to nurture minds with your training programs:

1) Mix Up Training Formats

Mix up content to create a personalized experience. Short, interactive content like video learning, quizzes, and games will keep engagement up and avoid overloading workers with information. Get learners involved in as much as possible through group sessions, peer-to-peer learning, and on-the-job mentoring. This won’t just drive knowledge retention; it’s also a valuable way to create a sense of community among employees if they work remotely.

2) Repeat Key Learning to Keep Knowledge Fresh

Repetition is important. Revisiting previously learned key information in a fun and engaging way through intermittent pop quizzes and brainstorming sessions will keep minds sharp, memories fresh, and employees engaged. It’s also a good chance to look out for any knowledge or skills gaps—if employees can’t recall learning as easily as they’d like, just add a course or task to their development plan to give them a chance to refresh their memory.

3) Pay Attention to Course Feedback

People don’t want to waste time learning skills that aren’t relevant to their roles and career goals. So for learning and development to be successful, it needs to be relevant, actionable, and make an impact. Metrics and analytics can give you an insight into how well users understand the material through pass rates and how they’re applying it by looking at skill competencies.Listening to your learners is valuable too. Use polls, post-course assessments, and employee engagement surveys to evaluate how effective training courses are, how much of the course material they’ve remembered, and how they feel they apply it in the day-to-day. Always be on the lookout for ways you can tweak courses.

4) Build Personalized Learning Journeys

Your people are individuals with their own learning styles and tactics for remembering information, so giving them the same information in the same format isn’t beneficial. Creating personalized learning journeys based on what each employee wants to achieve and how they learn best means they’re more likely to engage with and remember courses. Managers should schedule regular check-ins with employees at key points during the journey to look at progress, see what they’ve learned, and offer any guidance if it’s needed.

5) Create a Culture of Learning

Employee development can’t happen in isolation and your people need to feel that they’re part of a culture that respects, values, and facilitates learning. A culture where employees are supported with their development and aren’t afraid to make mistakes is the foundation for success. They should be given the freedom to schedule training around their work and encouraged to play an active role to decide what skills they want to learn based on their career goals. After all, employees who are invested in their own L&D are more likely to be engaged with their training!

How Can Bridge Help Deliver Training Your Employees Will Remember?

Creating a meaningful learning experience starts with the right tool. Bridge’s learning platform gives you the power to build and deliver unforgettable learning experiences. 

Craft personalized journeys to give your learners the training they need in the way they want and create an engaging and memorable experience. With powerful insights and analytics, you can track the success of your training and monitor how well your people learn, retain, and apply their newfound knowledge.

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