If you’re a corporate trainer, your job is to not only present employees with new information: it’s to train them. And the word training implies that the employees will actually remember what they’ve learned over the long-term.

Being aware of this goal should make the corporate trainer realize that it’s important to follow instructional design principles that help trainees remember what they’re learning. How can a corporate trainer incorporate retention techniques into their training courses?

Train in the Right Environment

Any type of corporate training will consist of two pieces: the theoretical and the practical.  To maximize what the trainee remembers, you have to be sure that the training is taking place in the right environment. For theoretical learning, training using a computer-based system such as an LMS would be sufficient. However, the practical aspect of training should be performed in “real-life”.

board with the word learningAs one example, let’s consider Sexual Harassment Training. In this type of corporate training, the trainees will have to learn the definition of Sexual Harassment. They’ll also need to be able to logically think through situations to determine whether actions are appropriate or not. This type of theoretical training can easily be done through an eLearning course as served through a company’s LMS.

Once the theory is learned, then it is the trainer’s responsibility to take it a step further into the practical realm. The environment in which sexual harassment takes place is not in front of a computer. Rather, it takes place as people interact. With this in mind, to truly get the trainee to remember what they’ve learned, it makes sense to perform some of the training in “real-life,” which could be done through role-playing.

Make the Training Interesting

textbookWhen I was a college student, I didn’t like going to most of my classes. Professors tended to be very dry, so I’d find my attention wandering. And, I always wondered if I could just get the information by reading the textbook.

Once in a while, however, I had a professor who knew his or her stuff and was genuinely entertaining at the same time. And, it was the entertainment factor that made me want to go to class. Using entertainment in the instructional design can greatly improve attention, which will then lead to retention of the material.

Attention leads to retention…

If the corporate training medium is through eLearning, then use video instead of documents when you can. And, the video doesn’t have to be in boring monotone corporate-speak! If you do have to use PowerPoint to present information, find some fun quotes and colorful images to keep your trainees engaged.

If the corporate training is “live,” then things can get a lot more interesting in the training process. For example, trainees can act out different scenarios in small groups as part of the course design. If the training deals with bullying in the workplace, trainees will certainly remember the training if two co-workers enacted a scenario where one is bullying the other.

Keep the Steps Super Clear

In skill-based corporate training, you’re trying to teach someone else a process. Any process to be learned will consist of a series of steps.  If the steps are long and complicated, they’ll be very difficult to remember without breaking them into smaller chunks. These smaller pieces also need to have some kind of logic connecting them.

cows eating grassOne technique that could be used to remember a series of steps is  mnemonics. To organize a list of steps, create a word or phrase which outlines the process. For example, when I was a kid learning piano, my teacher taught me the mnemonic “All Cows Eat Grass” to help me remember the names of notes between the ledger lines on a musical staff. For live training, you could even break your trainees into teams to see who might come up with the best mnemonic.

 Your Thoughts?

We’ve listed 3 tools that a corporate trainer can use to help trainees remember what they’ve learned. What are your thoughts? Please feel free to share some ideas that you use to help your trainees remember what they’ve learned.

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