Tips for Combating the Training Forgetting Curve

In a recent article, we introduced you to the well-documented forgetting curve in training and explained that something called spaced practice can help reduce or even eliminate the forgetting curve.

In this article, we’re going to give you a few more tips for how to design training that combats the forgetting curve and creates memorable training that employees will not only understand during the training, but that they’ll also remember after the training and put to use on the job.

Sounds like good stuff to know, no?

Let’s get started, then.

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What is eLearning? How Can I Use It?

eLearning allows you to access training material online rather than in a traditional classroom setting. This makes eLearning more convenient because you can complete the courses when you desire, on your schedule.

While eLearning courses can have videos embedded in them, eLearning  is much more interactive than simply watching a video. eLearning presents material in a multimedia format, so you are more likely to remember it. Some of the tactics used to present material include practice questions, feedback to answers, and scored tests.

eLearning allows your employees to learn more about topics relating to their careers. Completing eLearning courses ensures that your employees are well informed so they can be more efficient, productive, and safer at work.

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Online Occupational Health and Safety Training Courses

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Convergence Training’s online occupational health and safety training courses teach new employees important knowledge and skills while providing experienced employees a way to refresh their understanding of knowledge and skills they’re familiar with (see our article on the importance of “spaced practice” for more about the value of this).

There are some clear advantages of online training. One is that the employee can learn at his or her own pace. Another is that the employee can access the online training anywhere at work anywhere by using a mobile device.

Convergence Training provides a large number of online safety courses on many different topics. This article describes some of the courses involving driver safety, first aid, equipment safety, and general safety. However, to see the full list and course descriptions, check Convergence Training’s online occupational health and safety training courses.

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Spaced Practice: How to Use Refresher Training to Improve Worker Performance

The human brain is amazing. And so are the human abilities to learn new information and skills, remember them, and later retrieve and use them when it’s needed.

But if you’re involved in training and/or learning and development, you also know it’s not all that easy. And one of the big problems is that people tend to forget much of what they learned in training.

We’ve addressed some of the reasons why this happens earlier in our articles Why Don’t People Remember Their Training? and How People Learn (or Don’t). In this article, we’re going to continue looking at issues related at this general theme.

In particular, we’re going to focus our attention more specifically on what’s known as the learning curve, the forgetting curve, and space practice. We think this will make you see more value in refresher training, for one thing. But we’ll include tips for using spaced practice at points of the learning and development cycle beyond just refresher training, too.

Our plan is to introduce the basics in this article and then give more how-to’s in later articles. Continue reading to start the introduction.

 

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What is Visual Learning? Identifying and Understanding the Benefits of Visual Learning

Humans are visual creatures.

Going back a bit in time, vision was important to us on the African savanna to recognize predators and find food.

And although today most of us spend less time dodging leopards than our ancestors might have, it’s easy enough to see the importance of vision in our lives. How long do you go without watching a movie at the cinema, viewing a film on Netflix, or playing a video game? Or even consider music–don’t you often experience music in a music video, or while watching a stage full of dancers?

Why are so many of the dominant forms of entertainment visually oriented? Because, to return to our beginning, humans are visual creatures.

And so it makes a lot of sense to take advantage of that for workforce learning and development.

We’ll discuss this a bit in this blog post.

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Training Workers to Use Software Systems with Screen Recording Software Programs

training-workers-to-use-software-systems-w-screen-recording-software-programsComputer software systems are all around us, and we use them a lot.

We use them a lot in our personal lives. For example, Facebook lets us catch up with friends and family. Google lets us find information we need. We watch movies online and we listen to music online. We even go online to do our banking, pay our bills, or shop.

The same is true at work. You’re reading this on a web browser now, obviously. And I wrote it using a blogging platform called WordPress. And if you’re anything like me, today you’ll be using a lot more software, too: Microsoft Office, Excel, and Word, plus maybe PowerPoint depending on how the day goes. I’ll probably be using some image editing software and custom software for logging my time at work, too. Maybe you’ll be doing stuff like that as well.

But it’s not just you and me. It’s all of the people that I work with, and probably all the people you work with, too. And because software is so common at work, it’s important to be able to teach new workers how to use software. Plus you’ve got to train existing employees how to use new software when it’s introduced at work.

And all that software training can burn up a lot of time–yours and theirs–if you do it inefficiently.

But fortunately, there’s a group of products that have the ability to record your computer screen and make little “how-to” videos for software training.  These tools can be very helpful, they can save you a lot of time and money on software training, and they can be used to teach employees software applications more quickly and effectively. So what’s not to like about that?

In this article, we’ll tell you more about these screen recording software applications. Please note that Convergence Training makes none of these products, has no business relationship with any of their makers, and doesn’t endorse any one product. We’re just saying that as a group, they’re a handy product type that can make your life easier at work.

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Writing True/False, Matching, Drag and Drop, and Short-Answer Questions for Workforce Training Tests

Recently we’ve written a series of articles about writing effective test questions for workforce training assessment.

We hope you’ve found the series interesting and helpful. And yep, you guessed it–we mentioned it because this article is another addition to the series.

In this article, we’ll give you a few general tips for writing specific types of questions. We already covered multiple-choice questions, an online workforce assessment workhorse, in a different article, so we won’t address that here. In this article, we’ll consider true/false questions, matching and/or drag and drop questions, and short-answer and/or fill-in-the-blank questions.

If you missed any of the earlier article in the series, we’ve already covered:

Keep your eye on the blog for a future post on creating assessments that evaluate how well employees perform specific job tasks and/or demonstrate job skills. That’s still on the agenda.

And let us know if we’ve missed something you’d like us to write about.
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Comic Books and eLearning: Lessons from Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art”

In an earlier blog post, we took a quick introductory look at some connections between comic books and eLearning.

And in that article, we promised to follow up with a second article that focuses on the classic book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud. And we also promised that the second article would focus on some lessons from comic book design that we can apply to the design of eLearning other forms of learning.

This, my friend, is that second article.

Before we get going, let’s take a stop at the “credit where credit is due” department.  Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art is a classic and is GREAT. If you’ve read it, you can vouch for me. Or maybe you’ve just heard of it and know it’s very well regarded.

If you haven’t heard of the book or read it yet, I highly recommend it. If you read it, you’ll learn a lot on a wide variety of topics. And even better, it’s written in the form of a comic book, so you’ll have a lot of fun while you’re reading, too.

But even though I suggest you check the book out and promise you’ll like it, you won’t have to read the book to begin drawing some lessons from it. Because that’s the whole point of this article. And of the comments section at the bottom, too–please share all your own ideas.

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Comic Books and eLearning: Examples and Resources

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Comic books, the movies that they spawned, and graphic novels are a massive part of the American cultural scene these days.

For example, adults now freely admit to reading comic books. It’s no longer a dirty secret people hide. Do you read them? I do, and have since I was a kid.

We’ve seen serious books written about comics and the history of comics, including The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How it Changed America and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Heck, you can even take university classes on comic books–check out the courses offered by the Department of Comic Studies at University of Oregon as an example.

Graphic novels have come from nowhere to be very well respected. And deservedly so–a few of my favorites are Maus, Fun Home, and Persepolis. What are yours?

At the cinema, it’s sometimes difficult to see a movie that’s not based on a comic book character. That’s not necessarily a great thing (witness: the newly released Suicide Squad), but it does underline the fact that there’s a lot of interest in the characters and stories from comic books.

And all this popularity isn’t without good reason. Sure, some of it is because with today’s CGI, it’s easier to make a more convincing superhero movie. But that’s not the whole story. Comic books and graphic novels are great ways to tell a story, and in particular, they are great ways to communicate visually.

Given all that, we’re going to give some thought to connections between comic books and eLearning courses in this article. That’s partly because a big part of an eLearning course relies on visual communication, and because visual communication is an especially effective way to learn.

This is the first of two articles about comic books and eLearning. In this article, we’ll give a general introduction to the idea and some connections. And in the next article, we’ll take a “deep-dive” view at the classic book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud, and we’ll see what lessons from that book we can apply to eLearning design and learning in general.

If you want to zip ahead to the links of resources related to eLearning and comic books, they’re closer to the end of this article. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with relaxing and reading the whole thing.

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Workforce Tests That Match Your Learning Objectives: The Issue of Fidelity

 

workforce-tests-match-learning-objectives-issues-of-fidelityA lot of you write test questions for online training (or even for paper-based training).

Maybe you’re doing it with an e-learning authoring tool, such as the ones from Articulate, Adobe, or Lectora. Or maybe you’re doing it with quizmaking tool built into your learning management system (LMS). Or maybe with pencil and paper. Probably not with chisel and cuneiform, though 🙂

However you’re doing it, you may sometimes find yourself wondering about the best practices for writing standard question types. (By the way, instructional designers often use the wonky phrase “assessment items” for this kind of thing–an assessment “item” is a question).

In this article, we’re going to give you tips about something related to test creation that learning experts call fidelity (no, not THAT fidelity–this is not a notably juice blog post despite the wedding ring image above). In training talk, fidelity is the extent to which your test or test question mirrors the real task your workers will have to perform on the job.

In describing fidelity and test questions, we’ll cover a few other best practices, too. Hope this helps you with your question writin’.

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Training that Sticks: Six Tips from “Made to Stick”

Want some easy tips to follow to make training that sticks? To create training workers will remember and apply on the job? To help you attain the business goals you’re trying to reach?

Although inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point and written for a popular reading audience instead of exclusively for training professions, the book Made to Stick (more details about the book will come below, don’t worry) is a great source of information about current research into evidence-based “brain science” that makes things memorable and causes people to act on that training. And that, of course, means making training effective. It’s even a book you will notice a lot of training professionals referring to.

Interested in learning some of the tips from Made to Stick? If so, start by taking a little time to read the two selections below. As you read, ask yourself which you’re more likely to remember later–one or two days later, but even an hour or fifteen minutes later, too.

When you’re done we’ll cycle back and explain how this all relates to effective workforce training.

“A friend of a friend of ours is a frequent business traveler. Let’s call him Dave. Dave was recently in Atlantic City for an important meeting with clients. Afterward, he had some time to kill before his flight, so he went to a local bar for a drink.

He’d just finished one drink when an attractive woman approached and asked if she could buy him another. He was surprised but flattered. Sure, he said. The woman walked to the bar and brought back two more drinks-one for her and one for him. He thanked her and took a sip. And that was the last thing he remembered.

Rather, that was the last thing he remembered until he woke up, disoriented, lying in a hotel bathtub, his body submerged in ice.

He looked around frantically, trying to figure out where he was and how he got there. Then he spotted the note:

DON’T MOVE. DIAL 911.

A cellphone rested on a small table beside the bathtub. He picked it up and called 911, his fingers numb and clumsy from the ice. The operator seemed oddly familiar with his situation. She said, “Sir, I want you to reach behind you, slowly and carefully. Is there a tube protruding from your lower back?”

Anxious, he felt around behind him. Sure enough, there was a tube.

The operator said, “Sir, don’t panic, but one of your kidneys has been harvested. There’s a ring of organ thieves operating in this city, and they got to you. Paramedics are on their way. Don’t move until they arrive.” [Source: see note 1]

Now, the second:

“Comprehensive community building naturally lends itself to a return-on-investment rationale that can be modeled, drawing on existing practice,” it begins, going on to argue that “[a] factor constraining the flow of resources to CCIs is that funders must often resort to targeting or categorical requirements in grant making to ensure accountability.” [Source: see note 2]

OK, now that you’ve read them both, which are you more likely to remember? Why?

And how can you apply this to the training you create? Read on to learn how.

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Writing Better Tests for Job Training: The Issues of Reliability and Validity

writing-test-questions-for-online-training-activitiesIt’s often, if not always, a good idea to provide some form of test or assessment after providing job training to employees.

In some cases, this may be a written test scored in a pass/fail manner, and in others, it may be a performance test that requires the workers to demonstrate a skill or the ability to perform a procedure in a satisfactory manner.

In either case, it’s important for that test to be a good one. By that we mean that it provides you withuseful, actionable information about whether or not the employee has truly benefited from the training and is ready and able to successfully apply the new information or perform the new skill on the job.

There are a number of characteristics that “good tests” like this share. Learning & development experts know the two that we’ll talk about in this article as validity and reliability.

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