10 Stats About Learning Retention You’ll Want to Forget

In a perfect world, your workforce would only need to be told something once to master it. But unfortunately, our brains can be a little finicky. 

Cognitive science says that to actually learn something, the brain must build upon existing knowledge, flag it as “important” and reuse the information enough to deem it worthy of its efforts. 

Here are some stats that serve as a reminder of how easily it is to forget — and how important it is to make sure your employee training is memorable.


10 facts about learning retention you’ll wish you could forget:


  1. After one hour, people retain less than half of the information presented.
  2. After one day, people forget more than 70 percent of what was taught in training.
  3. After six days, people forget 75 percent of the information in their training.
  4. Forgetting isn’t just the learner’s fault — the presentation of information can either hinder or spur memory.
  5. People often forget because it was never actually learned in the first place, whether their gnat-sized attention spans or unclear messages are to blame.
  6. Interference occurs when information is not learned deeply (e.g. when it’s not applicable to someone’s day-to-day work).
  7. Information in our memories can decay, or fade over time if not accessed enough.
  8. To learn, the brain builds on existing knowledge — that’s why practice can make perfect.
  9. Sleep affects memory. Scientists recommend a full night’s sleep within the first 30 hours of learning something new.
  10. Corporations spend over 70 billion dollars on training (yep, that includes all of those one-and-done, fancy seminars).

Thanks for the memories: How you can smash the forgetting curve and improve learning retention at work


Not all content learned in the workplace is doomed to the in-one-ear-and-out-the-other treatment — you have power to create employee training in a way that encourages info recall. Besides, workers not only need better retention tools and strategies to do their jobs better, they want them. Here’s how you can mindfully nurture minds in your corporate training:

  • Know what you’re training for — To be effective, L&D professionals must fully understand the job roles of all employees in order to create training programs that are relevant.
  • Make them work for it (retention) and often — Give intermittent pop quizzes on key information to make sure those brains are straining for the right info. Plus, regular use or recall can combat that pesky memory decay.
  • Provide helpful feedback — No one wants to waste time with irrelevant info. When employees know they’re on the right track (or not), they can keep on keepin’ on. Review e-learning reports to see what information is being retained correctly or what needs to be optimized.
  • Stock the resource library — Provide additional information in your online resource library to leave no room for the interference effect. It’s like giving the brain something to fall back on.  

You don’t have to start from scratch to employ these tactics effectively. Bridge by Instructure has a learning retention tool (Bridge Retain) which empowers managers and L&D professionals to implement and manage all of the methods previously discussed — right in the learning management system (LMS). 

Read more about the scary side of learning retention in “The Employee Forgetfulness Index” or see a demo of Bridge Retain today.

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See for yourself how Bridge can make your workforce smarter faster.