Reinforcements – Do They Really Work?

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“Reinforcements – Do They Really Work?”

By: Shawna Simcik

This troubling situation is far too common: Your employees return from a training or e-learning course armed with new information and skills. Yet, days after the training, your staff begins to forget what they just learned and revert to old habits. It is like the training never took place at all! While you invested a lot of time and money in the training, the impact is low and this can be extremely frustrating. What is going on?

Well, there are common statistics cited by those in the learning field, one of these statistics suggests that learners forget 40 percent of materials learned in 20 minutes, and 77 percent of materials learned within 6 days. Another commonly cited statistic says that learners forget 90 percent of what they learned after a month. Clearly, these statistics are distressing to those who’ve invested heavily in training courses and actually need their learners to behave differently at work! The good news… these pessimistic statistics need not be true.

Reinforcements! When you want team members to learn new information, retain it, and implement it in the workplace, you must design a program that is effective. One way to do this is to use and implement reinforcements. Reinforcements are a series of well-balanced push and pull communication moments strategically designed, delivered and timed to drive business impact and lasting behavior change. This proven methodology combines a variety of studies, theories, and data to address the various aspects that are essential to achieving the desired behavior change.

Training reinforcement takes your learning objective, goals for reinforcement, and existing training material to reinforce skills acquired in a prior training course. Rather than taking existing material and breaking it down into smaller pieces, this approach to learning is builds upon that material for maximum impact. By being short and selective activities, the reinforcements promote retention and meet the needs of our distracted, too-busy learners as these can be done anywhere at any time – in between meetings, on the bus ride home or to work – wherever!

There is a science behind microlearning and creating reinforcements, including identification of the learning objectives, timing, format and clarification of the desired outcome. When expertly crafted,  these activities can bring about powerful results. In fact, in a recent study, ICC found using reinforcement data that we were able to track learning retention over time. Specifically, following one course within a larger ICC AcceleratorTM Program, participants were able to answer questions about their course learnings with 90% success rate two months after the original training program. Without reinforcements, learners typically will lose 90 percent of what they have learned after only one month. Amazing!

If you are looking to increase your investment in training and development, contact ICC to hear about the next- generation technology that empowers this proven methodology to reinforce training and help organizations bridge the gap between training results and business impact.

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