Organizations are constantly searching for new techniques for enhancing their corporate training programs. Science has always been a reliable tool for many organizations to develop training programs that deliver the most impact. Information Processing Theory is one important tool for companies to design their Learning Management Systems.
Before we dive into how Information Processing Theory aids in corporate training, let us first understand more about the theory. Specifically, what the theory means, its origins & how corporate trainers can gain from it.
What is Information Processing Theory?
Information Processing Theory is defined as a cognitive learning theory that focuses on how our brains encode information. It states how humans perceive, analyze, manipulate, apply, store & remembers information.
Information Processing Theory proposes that the process of creating long-term memories happens in stages. We first perceive information through our sensory systems such as hearing, seeing, tasting, etc.
Our brain then gradually stores that information on a long-term basis depending on how we determine the value of the information and the rate of exposure towards that piece of information.
A Brief History of Information Processing Theory
Developed in the 1950s, Information Processing Theory had evolved from the American experiments in Psychology. George Armitage Miller was one of the founders of psychology defined as cognition and was one the pioneers of the information processing Theory. The theory was further developed by John Willian Atkinson & Richard Shiffrin. They postulated that memory processing is a multi-stage function.
Information processing over the years has compared the human brain to a computer. Like a computer receives data in the form of ‘inputs,’ our brains also receive ‘inputs’ of information—similarly, our brain processes & stores information like a CPU & a hard drive.
The human brain processes a variety of information. It filters the information & decides which information is important enough that needs to be saved from our sensory short-term memory & inscribes it in the brain into long-term memory.
With respect to corporate training, it’s critical that the participants are able to store the information in the long term.
Information Processing Theory in Corporate Training
Using Stimuli to Create Memories
The first stage of Information Processing Theory is Sensory Memory, what we experience through our senses at any given time. This includes what we can touch, see, smell, hear or taste. Vision & hearing are generally regarded as the most important senses.
To engage people in a learning environment, you can try different techniques to appeal to different senses. For instance, you can explain the benefits of your service orally.
This will engage the learners’ ears, and it is called echoic memory. Show them an illustration that delivers the information visually & hand around samples of your product so that they can taste the same.
When information is presented & delivered differently, you make certain that you are confirming the strengths of all your audience members. Thereby increasing the chances of retaining the information.
The Importance of Short Term Memory
After sensory memory, the information is filtered into our short-term memory (also called working memory). Working memories include our cognitive capabilities, the quantum of information being asked to remember, our strength of focus on a particular day, & the amount of attention we give to the information.
Humans tend to focus more on the information that they deem as important and/or relevant. Our brains then use selective processing to give greater attention to those details to remember them better in the future. In the training program, ensure that the information given to the participants is relevant to their work & their growth. This will generate higher engagement & better retention.
Storing the Information into Long Term Memory
Our brains will continually filter out information at every stage of information processing. Therefore trainers need to ensure that the learners understand & retain a topic in depth. You can use certain strategies to implement the same:
- Breaking Up Information: According to the Scientific American, New Estimate Boosts the Human Brain’s Memory Capacity 10-Fold. However, that being said the human brain can only process a certain amount of information at a time. Therefore the quantum of information should be broken down into smaller parts for better understanding & retention. The pace of the training should be appropriate. And learners should be provided with sufficient breaks to process the information.
- Meaningful Training: Trainers can connect the information to real-life scenarios & allowing learners to connect to their own experiences. This makes the training more meaningful to them & will increase information retention rates.
- Repetition is the Key: Repetition is also a significant factor. If we want the learners to retain the information in the long-term memory, then the information needs to be repeated more than once. Repetition of information breaks through the attention barrier and cements the information in our brain.
- Connect it: Layering of the information is highly beneficial to optimizing the chances of the training information being retained in the long-term memory. Connecting the current information to what was previously taught, proper background information about the information are just some ways to create layers and connections between your learning modules.
Constraints of Information Processing Theory
Although the comparison of the human brain to a computer is good, it is still not the aptest analogy. Various influences manipulate our ability to process, learn & retain information. Be it our level of motivation towards learning or our emotions. Influences that do not impact a machine, such as a computer.
Computers have a limited capacity with respect to the CPU. At the same time, the human brain has a nearly unlimited memory capacity. Unlike computers which process information & task serially, humans have an incredible capacity for parallel information processing.
For corporate training, Information Processing Theory is a highly convenient framework. It provides you with a guideline on creating training programs that ensure that the learners retain the information that is being presented to them & that is encoded in their long-term memory.
KloudLearn LMS can help you design courses that use the concepts of Information Processing Theory to create corporate training systems that will ensure your learners retain the training they receive. Our powerful tools, such as gamification, will generate higher engagement and motivation, thereby making the learning more impactful. Contact us to know more about KloudLearn