In this blog article, we explore how learning and development professionals can create engaging learning experiences that increase knowledge retention through extended learning. We will also give you some helpful tips and insights taken from a real-life case-study as to how you can apply to extend learning through learner journeys and participatory teaching methods.
Through eLearning courses, we provide training to change or improve the knowledge-base, skillset and behaviours of employees. We can design standalone eLearning programmes aimed at doing this, but evidence shows that we forget 50% of the information presented within one day, and about 90% of it within one week (Ebbinghaus, 1885. Memory. A Contribution to Experimental Psychology).
Training and development is resource-intensive in terms of time and money and therefore learning and development professionals have a clear challenge of finding ways to mitigate the impacts of Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve through extended learning.
So how do we create training that provides opportunities for further learning and most importantly, for retaining and applying that learning in the workplace?
This can be done in a couple of ways. Firstly, we forget about designing a standalone program that leaves employees with no direction on what to do next, and instead, we create a learning pathway that encourages them to apply their learning and share it with others.
Secondly, we create engaging learning experiences throughout the learners’ pathway using different interactions and media types instead of traditional forms of learning where learners are dictated to or simply read resources.
Learning pathways are commonly used with learning management systems but can also be used to guide eLearning courses in general. Learning paths are courses or learning resources which are grouped together to create an engaging and enriched experience for learners. Learning paths have a number of benefits including:
To create an effective learning pathway, it helps to first look at how people learn. The Learning Pyramid shows that the average retention rate of people who partake in passive teaching methods such as lectures, reading and audio-visual presentations are relatively low (5%, 10% and 20% respectively). Whereas, the average retention rates of people who partake in participatory teaching methods such as group discussion, practice and teaching others are relatively high (50%, 75% and 90% respectively).
We can conclude from the learning retention rates outlined in the learning pyramid that by incorporating more participatory teaching methods such as teaching others in eLearning courses and programmes, knowledge retention will be increased and learners will remember more of what they have learned than if the eLearning course was taught with passive teaching methods alone.
When used together, participatory teaching methods and learning pathways create experiences that extend learning and reduce the impact of the forgetting curve. But what is the best way that you can incorporate these two learning elements into your eLearning programmes?
Here are a couple of ways that you can create optimal retention in your eLearning courses followed by a case study of how we created extended learning and learning pathways healthcare professionals working in the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland.
Making Every Contact Count is a national eLearning training programme focused on behaviour change through six 30 minute eLearning modules. The programme focuses on topics including smoking, alcohol, drugs and healthy eating and provides effective tools and knowledge to all HSE healthcare professions so that they are equipped to make brief interventions with patients.
Making Every Contact Count incorporates a range of learning mediums including video, scenarios, quizzes, self-assessments and reflective work to engage learners and help to embed learning, tapping into the participatory teaching aspects of the learning pyramid.
At Aurion Learning, we make it standard practice to incorporate the principles of extended learning into our eLearning programmes through our tried and tested ‘Do more, learn more, advise more’ approach to learning. In addition, following completion of the six eLearning modules learners have the opportunity to extend their learning with a classroom-based workshop.
To date, more than 2,000 HSE staff have completed the eLearning modules with hundreds of additional staff working through the Making Every Contact Count modules regularly. 300 staff to date have attended the follow on ‘Enhancing your Brief Intervention skills workshop’ with regular workshops scheduled to reinforce and extend learning.
Learn and read more about the Making Every Contact Count case study
We would love to hear your thoughts on how you plan to extend learning in your learning and development programmes.
Alternatively, if you are unsure where to start with extended learning, Aurion has a team of instructional designers and learning experts who can assist and guide you to your learning goals. Contact us to talk to a member of our team.
If you'd like to create effective remote learning activities, grab an online seat and join us for the last of our how-to webinar series and learn how to structure workplace learning activities for remote learning.