What learning conditions are necessary for short-term and long-term retention of training to occur?
Despite training programs being well thought out, new hires as well as tenured employees, do not always retain training information. Mistakes, even after adequate training, can be costly and time consuming. There are key conditions that need to be present for training retention to occur.
First, as the textbook states, employees need to know the purpose of the training. “Employees learn best when they understand the objective of the training program” (Noe, 2017). The text points to goal setting theory as an example of why it is important, for trainees to understand the objectives of training. In addition, the objective for training, helps employees to understand the expected outcome of the training. If employees understand and accept the objectives of the training, this will lead to motivation to learn.
The training context is an important factor of training retention. “Training context refers to the physical, intellectual, and emotional environment in which training occurs” (Noe, 2017). The information that is presented in training should be relative of the situations that may occur on the job. Along with relevant training material, trainees need to be able to practice what they have learned. This involves having the trainee demonstrate what they have learned. Trainees must take the initiative to commit training to memory. The article, “Committing Learning to Long-Term Memory”, mentions a few techniques to commit training to long-term memory. One technique, that many find helpful, is taking notes. Notes, however, are not beneficial if they are written, but never reviewed. Trainees must review their notes regularly. “The more often you review your notes the more likely the knowledge you’re acquiring will transfer to your long-term memory and will be accessible when you need it” (Sajnog, 2018). The article also states that it is great to practice any skills, while reviewing notes. Another helpful tip, according to the article is explaining what you have learned to someone else. This keeps the trainee interested in the subject and explaining the training out loud helps with learning retention. Lastly, the textbook points out that interactive training helps trainees to retain information. The article, “The Benefit of Interactive Learning”, tells of a Harvard professor who uses active learning in his physics classes. He has discovered that having the students participate in the lectures has improved his teachings. Additionally, students are eager to participate and learning retention has improved. The textbook acknowledges that people learn from interaction by explaining “Employees also learn best through interaction interacting with training content, with other learner, and with trainer or instructor” (Noe, 2017).
Feedback is another essential part of training retention. “Feedback is information about how well people are meeting the training objectives” (Noe, 2017). The textbook states that feedback needs to given as soon as possible and feedback should be specific. People learn from mistakes. Once feedback is given, trainees should use this as a learning tool, and trainers can use mistakes as an opportunity to better the training material.
Everyone learns differently and at a different pace. Overall, it is up to the learner to take responsibility for their training retention. Trainees can do this by “preparing for training, being involved and engaged during training, and using training content back on the job” (Noe, 2017). The training setting and work environment should also be conducive for learning and transfer of learning. There is no specific recipe for which the transfer of learning occurs, although, the for mentioned tips will assist trainees with retaining training material.
Anderson, J. (2014). The Benefit of Interactive Learning. Retrieved from https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/14/11/benefit-interactive-learning
Noe, R. A. (2017). Employee training and development (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 9780078112850.
Sajnog, C. (2018). Committing Learning to Long-Term Memory. Retrieved from https://chrissajnog.com/committing-learning-to-long-term-memory/
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