By Charles L. Wood
Most people are familiar with the quote, “when one door closes, another opens.” Opening the second training reinforcement door is as important as closing the initial training door. Every learning experience needs to be reinforced as a step towards improving the “Forgetting Curve.”
The Forgetting Curve
Some studies have indicated as much as 55% of newly-acquired knowledge is forgotten after one hour(1) and 70% of what we teach is forgotten within twenty four hours(2). This information retention challenge applies to classroom, electronic, and field training. Training professionals are aware of this challenge and take many approaches to improve the Forgetting Curve. It is important to remind ourselves that, education is the result produced by instruction, training or study. Now, mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, provide opportunities for a paradigm shift in training reinforcement.
Mobile devices provide delivery platforms to reinforce training. Both personal and company-provided mobile devices need convenient-to-download apps and interesting content in order to be effective. It’s important to provide apps and follow up training content on a voluntarily basis for personal mobile devices. Company furnished mobile devices can be loaded with apps and content when they are given to employees. There are at least two key differences between currently available download apps for mobile devices. First, some apps include a broad range of content that can be blended with training content. Examples of non training related content includes health, fitness, hobbies, self-improvement, and more from well known contributors. The second difference is the frequency that content is communicated through smart devices. Some apps generate content daily while others provide content on a flexible schedule. Combining topics of high personal interest with training reinforcement content is sometimes referred to as Blended Content.
Blended Content may not be a familiar term to some people, but it is used effectively in advertising to strengthen brands. The same communications principles can be applied to reinforcing training for reducing the Forgetting Curve. An example of Blended Content would be when the Apple logo is visible on a computer cover in a movie scene. This form of advertising is not “call to action” advertisement; it is a reinforcement of the brand(3). The same process applies to training reinforcement. It does not convey new information, but like brand advertising, it reinforces earlier training.
In conclusion, trainers now have a cost-effective way to reinforce training by providing reinforcement content on mobile devices. The use of downloadable apps avoids implementation delays often encountered when IT resources are needed. Each training environment is different, but we prefer the Blended Content model.
(1) Hermann Ebbinghaus Research
(2) Learning Solutions Magazine April 10, 2014, Author: Art Kohn
(3) Training Magazine November 21, 2014, Author: Jennifer Hofmann