What’s more important? Learners completing their training, or remembering it?
If it’s the latter, then a traditional, large eLearning course, which presents vast amounts of content in a single module, is not the most effective for learners to retain what they’ve covered.
“The purpose of instruction is to store information in long-term memory. That information consists of everything that has been learned, from isolated, rote-learned facts to complex, fully understood concepts and procedures. Learning is defined as a positive change in long-term memory. If nothing has changed in long-term memory, nothing has been learned,” according to John Sweller, in Cognitive Load Theory and eLearning.
And the best way to inscribe information into long-term memory is not to do an information dump but to savor content in small, digestible bites.
“It is well acknowledged that learning content needs to be transferred to long-term memory,” Jan Breckwoldt el al. wrote in a study on mass vs. spaced learning. “This encoding process needs opportunities for rehearsal and repetition, preferentially in self-regulated learning approaches.”
The Magic of the Idle Mind
It’s even better for learners if their short, self-regulated training moments are interspersed with some “down time” — time to reflect on what’s been learned or just to let the mind wander.
“Skills for reflecting during lapses in outward attention and time for safely indulging mind wandering may be critical for healthy development and learning in the longer term,” Immordino-Yang, Christodoulou, and Singh wrote.
In fact, multiple studies over time have shown that people learn best when they can take breaks after learning. Even if the learner turns to another task — one that is not highly demanding — the brain can process and encode the recently learned material, and the learner is more likely to remember it later.
When learners face all-day lecture classes or intense 45-minute or 2-hour eLearning modules, they often have to mark out blocks of time to take that training and, as a consequence, feel compelled to complete it in a single sitting — or whenever the face-to-face class is scheduled. Time for reflecting on and processing the content is generally an unimaginable luxury.
Adaptive, Spaced Learning with OttoLearn
You’re in luck though, and so are your learners: There’s a better way to train that is more efficient and more effective.
OttoLearn Agile Microlearning provides spaced practice, giving learners plenty of time between lessons to process information. Learners develop a daily training habit, completing 2-minute Mastery Moments at the start of their shift or workday, or on a break. The 2-minute sessions present content in manageable, focused units.
Otto’s algorithms customize the repetition interval for each Topic and Activity to individual learners’ knowledge, performance, and goals. Providing spaced repetition and engaging training, Otto encourages learning and improves retention.
OttoLearn puts cognitive science to work to deliver the content that each learner needs it on the schedule that works best for that learner. You’ll see the results quickly as learners master and remember more content — and quickly begin to apply it on the job.
There’s always two minutes for microlearning — training that doesn’t get in the way of the day-to-day workload faced by your employees. These Mastery Moments allow for time between sessions, to let the learner absorb and reflect on the materials covered in their most recent session. This improves retention – and isn’t that the whole point of delivering training?