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How Does Retrieval Practice STOP the Act of Forgetting?

Posted by Shahin Sobhani on Tue, Aug 8, 2017

Learners forget approximately 70% of what they’ve just been taught within 24 hours.

That’s a fact.

Sure, there’s some knowledge that remains, but 20% more disappears soon after. That is 90% in a week!

This phenomenon is called The Forgetting Curve and it is as real in corporate training as any other setting. It will happen whether we like it or not. But if we stop for a minute to take a look at what really matters in long term learning, the answer becomes clear:

To retain what we learn, we need to find a way to interrupt the forgetting process.

How do we do that?

After years of extensive empirical research, gaining deep insights into the corporate learning market through our clients, and getting input from a key SwissVBS client and early adopter of ECHO, our mobile reinforcement app, we’ve got a simple and cost-effective solution.

It all revolves around retrieval practice – the cornerstone of mobile training reinforcement.

What is retrieval practice?Retrieval Practice.png

Think of it as the bridge between training and doing. Retrieval practices are usually in the form of quizzes and/or flashcards that call out key questions to the learner’s memory, prompting them to remember, understand, and then eventually (and most importantly), master and apply.

Why it works?

Retrieval practice combats – and stops – the act of forgetting by tackling the problem head on in a number of ways.

  1. It asks you to recover knowledge.

The very process of trying to retrieve knowledge from your memory actually strengthens and builds new neuro-pathways in the brain that make it easier to recall that information in the future.

  1. It takes effort.

If done well, retrieval practices are anything but easy. Why? Because when learning is harder, it’s stronger and lasts longer. Where more cognitive effort is required for retrieval, retention results are greater. 

  1. It’s spaced out.

Retrieval practices don’t all happen at once. A good program’s exercises are repeated again and again, in spaced-out sessions, so that the recall, rather than a mindless recitation, requires some cognitive effort.

  1. It’s interleaved.

This means the practice covers two or more subjects or skills that are interchanged among one another throughout the exercises. Again, it all comes back to effort because the learner needs to try harder to remember.

When you put yourself up against a naturally occurring process like the forgetting curve, you need to be willing to put in the time and the effort. But with the convenience of mobile, your training reinforcement plan becomes a powerful tool that helps you do, whatever it is that you do, better.




Topics: Learning Reinforcement, Training Reinforcement

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