Strategies for Improving Learning Retention In The UK (2024)

Given the speed at which technological advancements such artificial intelligence, big data systems and integration software have revolutionised the business landscape, it’s clear that to stay competitive, companies must provide their staff with effective training. 

By implementing various training programmes that upskill staff to use state-of-the-art technology and improve their knowledge base, organisations make a significant investment into the future growth of their operation.

That said, if your staff’s mental capacities are already severely weighed down through managing their daily responsibilities, it might prove difficult for them to retain this new knowledge over a prolonged period.

Indeed, the Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve, suggests that humans retain less than half of the information they absorb within a couple of weeks of them first garnering it – unless they take steps to consciously review it. 

Some of the reasons include psychological factors like quality of sleep and stress, as well as how easily the information was presented to them and how meaningful it is.

Clearly then, you don’t want your staff to forget everything they’ve learned in your training programmes. So, what are some ways can you ensure they don’t?

Here are seven strategies your company can employ in the United Kingdom to improve staff learning retention.

4 Aspects of Learning Retention

Before looking at some of the strategies you can implement to enhance your employee’s learning retention, it is worth understanding what factors actually affect a person’s chances of remembering what they were taught. 

1. Interest and willingness to learn

Two of the key factors involved in retaining knowledge are the degree to which a staff member is interested in, and willing, to learn.

Undoubtedly, the more on board your staff are with undertaking a learning initiative, the more likely they are to be engaged and receptive to it.

Learning paired with motivation is a powerful force that goes a long way towards encouraging the human brain to retain information. Primarily because it is of interest to the individual.

For instance, it is likely that a sales executive would be more interested and motivated in learning about a CRM as opposed to a marketing automation tool.

Subsequently, if they are trained in both, they would more likely keep the knowledge they gained about the CRM tool at the forefront of their minds, longer than the information about the automation tool.

2. Association

Being aware of the significance and meaning of what they are learning, with regards to their job function, and being able to associate it with real-life situations they might face, helps staff to better learn and retain the information for a much longer period.

3. Repetition

One of the easiest ways to retain learned information is through repetition. Essentially, the more an individual practices a task and repeats the theoretical aspects of it to themselves, the easier they will find it to remember.  

4. Use of various channels

We all learn at different paces and in different ways. For instance, some people respond best to hands-on experience, while others are better with visual material or instructor guidance.

Subsequently, it is worth employing a range of learning techniques or methods to give each staff member the best possible chance of retaining the information they’ve learned.

Strategies for Improving Learning Retention

To improve rates of learning retention among your staff, here are some knowledge retention tools and strategies you should adopt.

1. Spaced learning

One of the most effective strategies for learning retention is spaced learning.

It is based on the notion that the best way to retain knowledge is to repeat the tuition at regular intervals.

This method helps staff to learn more effectively while also reducing the risk of them losing knowledge, which often occurs with one-time learning programmes.  

Within corporate training, the best way to introduce spaced learning is by breaking down the training course into several different modules, which your staff can do over a short period of time. 

2. Microlearning

With microlearning, the focus is on providing your staff with small chunks of information to remember in multiple sessions. This could involve listening to a five-minute learning podcast, as opposed to watching a two-hour webinar or having to complete a full-day training course.

As employees have limited attention spans, microlearning is a good way to ensure they retain the most valuable pieces of information you want them to remember. 

It is also effective because it does not give them information overload, which is a surefire way to reduce the amount of knowledge they take in.

3. Blended learning

Another excellent strategy for improving learning retention is blended learning. This approach fuses two training methodologies, namely eLearning and the more traditional face-to-face and is often used in programmes that target younger learners.

The great thing about blended learning is that because it accesses both online and offline resources, it tends to be more engaging for your staff. Those who prefer traditional workshop-type environments can embrace those elements at the expense of computer-based, semi-autonomous training, and vice versa.

Subsequently, irrespective of whether they are auditory, visual or kinesthetic learners, this type of tuition enables you to reach all employees.

4. Video learning

As we live in a digital age, many companies have adopted video learning in their training programmes, as their staff are more receptive to it.

Essentially, visual representations make it easier to deliver knowledge to your employees. At the same time, they also make it more straightforward for them to consume the information because it enables them to perceive and store it more easily.

The primary benefit of video learning is that it helps to speed up learning time in the first place. Additionally, it can also be done remotely, which means that staff don’t have to be physically present in your office to do it.

5. Engaging and Interactive content

It is common sense that the more engaging and interactive the content your staff needs to learn is, the more likely they will retain the information.

For this reason, corporate trainers should incorporate a range of scenarios within their programmes. Some of the things they can do are:

  • Use striking and colourful visuals
  • Add interactive surveys, quizzes and Q&A
  • Inject humour, profanity and personality to highlight key points
  • Create situational examples and characters that employees can easily relate to
  • Use animated videos to explain complex processes
  • Ensure the content is relevant to their roles

6. Apply knowledge to the real world

Concepts can be difficult for the human brain to compute, especially if they appear irrelevant or unrelated to an individual’s work environment or needs. For this reason, companies need to ensure the learning units their employees are given will help them to immediately recognise their value.

A great way to do this is via simulations, which demonstrate to your staff how the knowledge they are gaining can be applied to their everyday work function.

This enables learners to see the consequences or benefits of taking certain courses of action in a learning environment that is risk-free before applying them to their own specific jobs.

7. Take tests

Lastly, while they might not be popular with everyone, tests can be a good way to increase learning retention rates.

Some studies have suggested that getting tested on what they were taught is an excellent way of helping your employees remember the information.

It can also be a useful way for your organisation to monitor the effectiveness of the training methods that are in place.


What is the goal of learning retention in the UK?

The ultimate goal of implementing learning retention training programs is to upskill employees with state-of-the art technology that will help them do their jobs more efficiently.

Written by: Ana Acevska

Published: 20 Jun, 2024