Online Knowledge Retention Tools Can Boost Employee Training
A well-trained workforce lies at the heart of most successful businesses. Providing in-house training can, however, take time out of the day and also be expensive to implement, especially for SMEs. It can be challenging if your business needs to improve access to knowledge and skills training without spending a significant amount on resources.
Online knowledge retention tools provide a convenient and flexible way for businesses of all sizes to deliver high-quality training that hits the mark, is easy to measure and has a huge impact on employee productivity.
These systems have flexibility built into them which means you can deliver a range of different learning materials in a simple and easily accessible way.
What is Knowledge Retention?
If you’ve ever sat in a classroom for a couple of hours and then come out and can’t remember much of what you were expected to learn, you’re not alone. In simple terms, we only retain about half of the information imparted to us and that’s on a good day. We’ve normally forgotten about 70% of what we’ve learned after a day and lost about 90% in a week.
Knowledge retention is about how we process information and keep it in our brains rather than letting it go in one ear and out the other. Traditional methods of learning such as the rote technique where you just repeat everything again and again can work in some circumstances.
But for most people, this is a time-consuming and often inefficient approach that fails to deliver the right results. To be successful, any knowledge retention strategy has to engage the learner and form a strong connection in the brain. Fortunately, our understanding of how people learn effectively has grown dramatically over the last few years and there are several ways that this can be achieved.
In the last ten years, gamification has become a big part of learning for a few good reasons. Turning courses into games with levels and different rewards engages the learner more profoundly than simply trying to encourage them to learn by rote.
One of the problems with traditional approaches is that people can get easily bored or feel they have retained information when they haven’t. Gaming scenarios encourage users to go back to the material and review it and test themselves, building deeper understanding and stronger knowledge retention.
You might be surprised to learn that one of the major advances in learning over the last two decades is the development of the smartphone as an educational tool. While your mobile has many other benefits, when it comes to knowledge retention it provides easy access to learning materials.
Learners can dip in and out of modules while they are on the go, wherever they are in the world. If you have an app with training materials, it’s a simple task of tapping on the icon and doing a few extra minutes here and there. You could be at a local café, waiting for a bus or even on holiday.
For businesses, this means that staff can access training materials at their convenience rather than having to stick to a strict timetable.
One of the problems with traditional learning techniques when it comes to knowledge retention is that we’re just presented with too much information to process effectively at one time. Microlearning is all about giving people bite-sized lessons, often only focusing on one particular topic.
We have a lot competing for our attention nowadays and it can be difficult for people with busy lives to fit in extra training. A bite-sized module that can take just a few minutes to complete is convenient and more likely to be accessed than an hour-long video or extended page of text.
Spaced repetition is another vital tool for learning nowadays and can have huge benefits. We don’t always retain information when we are first exposed to it. Our brains need a certain amount of repetition for that knowledge to embed.
Spaced repetition exposes you to informational points at gradually increasing intervals. You find this a lot on language learning apps where new words are first shown frequently and then less often. One of the benefits is that learning a particular element doesn’t become repetitive and boring but the final result is that knowledge is deeply ingrained and unlikely to be forgotten any time soon.
How Do You Measure Retention of Knowledge?
One of the challenges for businesses that provide training to employees regularly is understanding how effective their processes are. Measuring retention of knowledge is usually achieved in academic circles by giving pupils exams.
Irrespective of the money and time you spend on training your staff if you can’t measure the direct results and see that it’s having a positive effect you can’t calculate the return on investment or be sure that it is valuable.
In days gone by, businesses would have training sessions and perhaps give employees a multiple-choice test at the end. This may give an idea of immediate knowledge retention but doesn’t reveal how that information is maintained over time.
Measurement realistically has to show whether a training activity improves the ability of the individual to do a particular task or duty. The testing is only a small part of this.
If you have several employees, there’s also the problem of measuring how they compare with each other and are progressing to your desired outcome.
Online knowledge retention tools are useful in that they can help give everyone the same exposure and measure their success or failure through individual modules. It gives managers an idea of where each employee is on the learning continuum and allows them better to support those who may be lagging or further challenge those who are ahead of the game.
Most online tools are pretty sophisticated nowadays and should give managers a clear notion of where particular employees are up to. This can then be compared to overall work productivity and help trainers develop more sophisticated and relevant materials that have a much bigger impact. Engagement with employees can also highlight areas where training may be lacking.
- Approaches such as spaced learning can be monitored online and give an idea of how easily certain materials are being absorbed.
- Training managers can look at when employees engage with learning opportunities and which media tend to work best when it comes to engagement and retention.
- You can also see which aspects of training are more difficult and take longer to embed and adjust your training accordingly.
Building an effective training regime for your staff depends a lot on understanding what you want to achieve and how best that can be implemented. Different businesses will have different requirements. Some may, for instance, simply use training materials for onboarding and general updates. Others may include training that helps advance employees to more senior positions.
Knowledge Retention in Business
Building knowledge retention strategies into your business training is critical. If employees are coming out of training sessions and not taking on board or remembering what you have told them it can have an immediate impact on productivity, performance and your bottom line.
There are several challenges that businesses face when it comes to training and this can directly affect the strength and scope of knowledge retention:
- The retention interval: The timing of training is very important. If there is a break between when knowledge is given and when it can be used, the efficacy of the learning and levels of retention can suffer. When we don’t use something it becomes less useful and therefore we tend to forget about it. Making learning relevant and immediate, therefore, is vital to knowledge retention.
- Too much learning: One mistake that businesses can make is overloading their employees with too much in one go. A two-hour seminar explaining the new company processes could mean that most people leave without a full understanding of their role and what they need to know to do their jobs. Breaking knowledge dumps into smaller, bite-sized chunks is generally more effective.
- Relevance: Irrelevant knowledge acquisition can be another problem that businesses face. Not only are you overburdening an individual with information that is not relevant to their job but they will likely find retention more difficult because that knowledge means less to them.
- Testing and evaluation: Understanding how much knowledge someone can retain is important, not least because it tells you if that individual requires additional support. Having the right metrics in place is critical.
- Individual ability: The success of any training programme is also dependent on individual ability. We all learn in different ways and finding flexibility in delivery is critical if you want more people to engage and learn. Again, strong testing and evaluation can certainly help organisations understand how their training provisions are performing both individually and on a wider scale.
SMEs in particular can struggle with building effective knowledge retention strategies that work for their business. Training may be at worse piecemeal and poorly monitored for effect. Using an online knowledge retention tool can help not only create a coherent training strategy for your business but also allow managers to see in real time how it is working and where changes need to be made.
Wranx: The Business Learning Solution
Software as a service has improved dramatically over the last decade. With major advances in connectivity and speed, businesses can now access cloud-based knowledge retention tools at a relatively low cost. More and more companies of all shapes and sizes are beginning to access these services to deliver better learning opportunities to their staff.
At Wranx, we’ve developed a cutting-edge learning facility for businesses of all types. We work with both SMEs and larger corporations to help them deliver high-quality training that makes a big difference.
- We aim to help you improve employee knowledge and boost productivity. For example, we can assist you in implementing onboarding for new staff, provide better sales performance for employees and create compliance training modules for your business.
- We can take your existing training materials and transform them into easy-to-digest, bite-sized learning opportunities for your staff.
- Or we can help you develop new training opportunities in whichever sector you operate in.
- We can also provide a range of off-the-shelf training modules that may be suitable for your business.
- In addition to this, you get access to a dedicated account manager who can work directly with you to help develop the training materials that your business needs to grow and succeed in the future.
- They’ll get to know your business and what you need and they’ll always be on hand to give advice and support.
Partnering with Wranx means that you get access to state-of-the-art learning tools that make a big difference to your business at all levels. Better training will not only improves your bottom line but should deliver a strong ROI. In the past, we’ve helped many businesses reduce their training spending by delivering the latest online tools. Our clients come from a wide range of sectors including retail, pharmaceuticals, gaming and health care to name just a few.
We help you create customised content that works and find the flexibility in delivery that makes it easier for your staff to access the appropriate materials and learn wherever they are, at any time. With evidence-based approaches such as gamification, spaced learning and microlearning, you get immediate access to a whole range of approaches that are proven to work.
Not only that, you’re training approach will be backed up by the latest metrics through our simple-to-use and understand dashboards. These show, for instance, how many people have completed a module, how often they are engaging and what they are learning. This gives you a visual representation of how your training is performing and allows you to make changes that improve effectiveness and engagement.
Based in Liverpool, our clients come from all over the world and we take great pride in helping businesses both large and small take their staff training to the next level. If you would like to see what can be achieved by partnering with the team at Wranx, contact us today for a free demo.