Have you ever walked out of a training session and realised you’ve already forgotten some of the information you were told? If you think not, perhaps you’ve just forgotten that too?
It’s hardly news that we forget things over time, but, in business, this can impact an organisation’s performance and bottom line. We expect employees to forget elements of their training, of course, but as they do, this can contribute to skill fade, whereby someone’s ability to do a task can decrease if it is not being done regularly.
It’s important, therefore, that “knowledge retention” is considered when planning and delivering any training for employees. Knowledge retention refers to how well learners remember knowledge and, in business, how well the combined knowledge within an organisation is preserved over time.
Fortunately, there is actually some science to how we forget. In 1885, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus hypothesised a curve that suggested the rate at which we forget information decreases over time, although we still continue to lose info. The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve also suggested that the rate of forgetting was reduced each time newly learned information was reviewed.
This is the basis for Spaced Repetition, the learning technique that Wranx is built upon. Spaced Repetition is based on the principle of exposing learners to knowledge repeatedly and increasing the length of time between exposure as knowledge is shown to have been retained. A study by Kramar et al at the University of Southern California explained that this repeated firing between the areas of the brain responsible for certain memories served to strengthen those memories.
So, we know why knowledge retention is important in business and the science behind it. For organisations it’s simply a case of understanding what the impact might be for them and what can be done to improve it. There’s more information about knowledge retention in our expert guide, which covers its benefits, learning techniques and tips for improving knowledge retention.