SHIFT's eLearning Blog

Our blog provides the best practices, tips, and inspiration for corporate training, instructional design, eLearning and mLearning.

To visit the Spanish blog, click here
All Posts

These Are The Reasons Why Learners Forget Your Training


"Training doesn’t help one jot if people can’t remember it in the real world"  —Teresa Ewington

Our biggest goal in training is to get students to remember the material. To do this more effectively, it helps learning what causes the mind to forget things. By getting a clear view of what makes a person forget, we can incorporate key elements into our programs that help counteract those causes. 

Forgetting is an important function. It helps a human filter out trivial things that would clog the brain and override important information. Forgetting helps ease the pain of tragedy and enables a person to continue living without constant sadness. There are times, however, when we not only need to remember, but need to do so at a time when the information is useful.

Let's take a look at the five most common reasons your corporate learners forget your training.



forget-elearning

Reason #1: Encoding Failure (Learning Didn't Pay Attention to Content)

This is the most common cause of forgetting. The information never actually made it to the person's memory bank. This happens when a student fails to focus on what is being taught. Maybe they had other things on their mind that day, or the material just wasn't engaging enough to capture their attention. Another reason for not paying attention is that the student didn't see a reason for learning this information; it didn't seem to have a purpose related to the subject at hand. This encoding failure can also occur when someone is being presented with too much information all at once, causing them to have to pick and choose what the brain will retain.

Also read: Make It Hard to Forget: 6 Principles to Help Your Learners Remember Anything

Reason #2: Interference

It is known that recent things we learn are more easily remembered than older information. If both sets of information on the same subject, the newer memories may make it harder, if not impossible, to remember the older ones on the same subject. This is called retroactive interference. If the original information is so strong that it makes learning new information on the subject difficult, it is referred to as proactive interference. This can happen because the first information we learn on a subject is more deeply ingrained and anything that might counteract or clash with that understanding becomes difficult to retain.

Reason #3: Shallow Processing

Deep processing occurs when meaning is placed on the material being learned. When a student can find a reason to retain the information, when an emotion is connected to the material or when more than one sense is used in learning, the memory gains staying power and is more easily brought forth when needed.

If the material can't be connected to a sense or a feeling, the processing is shallow and it does not stay in the brain for any length of time because the brain considers it unimportant and will make room for things it considers more relevant.

Ideas: The 4 Best Tricks to Help Learners Remember Your Content

Read more: 4 Ways To Make Learning Retention Part of Your Training Program

Reason #4: What Versus How

Say you are teaching a student the workings of a motor. You can show them a diagram of a motor and explain what the various parts are or you can place a motor in front of them and have them assemble the motor step by step, explaining how each piece fits the whole. The student will more likely remember the second method because the mind is more eager to understand the how and why of something rather than simply accepted what is. By helping a student understand the reasoning behind a concept or the role a concept plays in the subject matter as a whole, it tells the brain the material is important and must be remembered.

Reason #5: Decay or Disuse

The brain tends to take information that isn't used regularly and replace it with material it knows a person needs. Think back to high school geometry. Unless you are an architect or work in some other profession where you need precise angles and such, you don't remember all those formulas for figuring out the various areas of shapes and angles. Your mind needs to regularly go over information previously learned or it places the information in a bin marked useless and locks it away from easy memory. The more ways something is gone over, the more it stays in memory. That is one reason unit reviews and chapter quizzes are so helpful. They bring the material out of hiding and make sure the brain knows you want that information retained

As eLearning professionals, it is almost as important to understand how the human mind forgets as it is to understand memory. Both concepts are part of the same coin and must be addressed together to make a program as successful as possible.


 

Understanding why learners forget is the first step. Now ensure that learners REMEMBER the knowledge till the time they get the opportunity to apply it. This is critical for the success of your training program. 

Here are 7 proven knowledge retention strategies you can apply in your course design.

Additional read: 

Decode the Science of Forgetting: How to Create Memorable eLearning [Part I]

 

 

Attention-Grabbing Course


Sources:

Why Do We Forget. Student Academic Resource Center

Explanations for Forgetting by Kendra Cherry, Psychology Expert

Related Posts

A List of Brain-based Strategies to Create Effective eLearning

There is a simple way to design effective eLearning courses about any subject: brain-based learning. This instructional approach was defined by Hileman in 2006 and has since inspired many “brain-compatible designers” — those who seek to understand the principle and reasoning behind their teaching.

  • 14 min read
  • Thu, May 26, 2022 @ 01:11 PM

The 4 Adult Learning Elements You Should Include in Your eLearning Courses

Adult Learning highlights that adult learners are fundamentally different in their methods of learning in comparison with children. As an L&D professional, you need to understand these differences and figure out the best ways to apply them to meet your learner's needs. With adult learners, you will encounter unique expectations, demands, and challenges. The key is to accommodate these and design training and eLearning courses in a manner that is most effective and engaging for them. While there are multiple methodologies to make this happen, there is a model proposed by Lila Davachi, Associate Professor of Psychology at New York University that is known to be effective. Known as AGES (Attention-Generation-Emotion-Spacing), this model highlights four key elements that are essential for effective adult learning to happen. 

  • 9 min read
  • Fri, May 20, 2022 @ 01:51 PM

The Key Principles of High-Quality Instructional Design

The quality of instructional design is often gauged on three things: effectiveness, efficiency, and cost.  Effectiveness has to do with how well the instruction enables learners to achieve stated goals or expected outcomes. Efficiency deals with the energy and time invested to complete the instruction while cost covers all expenses incurred for its design and delivery.  These are good points, to begin with. It's equally important, however, to zero in on the details involving the design and development of quality instruction. As with any other good design principles, there are human characteristics deeply involved here.  Richard Buchanan, a professor of Design, Management, and Information Systems, said it best: “a good design can be defined not only to be creative, stylish with an extraordinary visual look, but it must consider human engagement in its activities.” Follow these five golden principles to help you achieve high-quality instructional design:

  • 8 min read
  • Wed, May 18, 2022 @ 05:55 PM