7 Proven Techniques To Boost Learning Retention

Learning Retention

Learning retention is the most crucial element of e-learning and other training programs. Without it, no matter how well-structured, engaging, and informative the content is, it will not meet the learning objectives. The truth is that information retention is one of the biggest challenges for Learning and Development professionals. According to a study, information retention rates are dismal. That means a tiny part of what they have learned is present in their memory after just one day. But how do we make sure that the learners retain the information? Let’s start by first figuring out what knowledge retention is?

So what exactly is Learning Retention?

It is the process of storing information in long-term memory so that it can be retrieved. In simpler terms, it’s all about making new information stick. According to the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve, humans can only retain 50% of the information within an hour of learning about it. And that decreases to an average of 30% within a day. The learning retention rates are very discouraging, especially when educating the employees involves a costly investment.

You don’t want your employees to forget all the critical job learning. So what tactics should you leverage to facilitate knowledge retention?

Let’s dig into the strategies to implement in your eLearning program for making your content unforgettable.

1. Follow the Rule of Primacy:

According to research, we remember the first thing we learn. In other words, in a bulky eLearning module, learners can only retain what they have learned in the early few training modules. For effective learning, prepare the learning modules in a proper hierarchy to improve the retention rates. It’s been proven that learning separated into modest and manageable chunks is more likely to be remembered for a longer time. Keeping the eLearning modules short and concise is another way of boosting information retention than long and tedious modules.

2. Tell a Story:

Storytelling is a great way to boost learning retention rates. It involves the learner by developing an emotional connection with a training curriculum. Many educational psychologists believe that storytelling is the key to knowledge retention. Creating a story with situations that your employees can relate to can help engage them and meet their learning objectives. But ensure that your story is concise, vivid and relevant to your program as irrelevant and complex stories can stray them from the primary subject matter.

3. Make learning enjoyable with Gamification:

Gamification is the use of game design elements, aesthetics and game thinking to engage learners, motivate action to promote learning, and is another excellent tool to engage and motivate your employees while improving their learning retention. Gamification increases an employee’s ability to retain knowledge by 40%, and  72% of the employees claim that gamification helps them stay motivated throughout their eLearning programmes. Additionally, gamification helps the learners to engage with the content, which increases their likelihood of retaining the information. Also, it offers an opportunity for your employees to develop a better perception of themselves and stay motivated.

4. Take Assessments:

Regular assessments are one of the simplest and effective ways to demonstrate retention. It helps the learner keep track of their progress and let them reiterate and retain the things. Additionally, your employees will find it easier to focus and remember the specified information. Also, conducting regular assessments is a necessary step to ensure knowledge retention. Incorporating a quiz in your learning content will help your employees clarify learning objectives and retain information.

5. Use Microlearning:

Microlearning is a bite-sized learning approach to convert your lengthy and complicated training program into short, concise and specific training. It’s always better to break the information down into smaller chunks to make the learning and retention exciting and manageable. Microlearning will help your employees figure out what to focus on and boost novelty without making them feel overwhelmed.

6. Relate the learning to the real world:

According to neuroscience research, people are more likely to remember the things that relate to their real-life somehow. It addresses the significance of ensuring employees understand how the information presented to them relates to their lives. It’s vital to create learning modules that are related to your employee’s lives. That way, it will let them discover the complete utility of your beneficial information and are far more likely to retain them.

7. Summarize:

Plan and design your learning modules that they let your employees summarise and retain what they have learned. Doing so helps assess their knowledge in the subject and helps in sticking that information to memory. Knowledge retention rates increase when you encourage active learning and engagement. Adding a quiz, questionnaire or social learning at the end of the module will help the learners summarise what they have learned.


Ultimately, the science behind good learning retention is the effective delivery of the training program. Ensure the learning objectives are clear; learning sessions are short and exciting by incorporating gamification. Transform the information into long term knowledge by keeping the motivation levels high of your employees. A direct link between the content and real-world will let your employees stick to the information.

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