How eLearning Professionals Can Enhance Knowledge Retention
Even most informative, engaging, and beautifully designed eLearning courses are going to fall short if they aren't centered around knowledge retention. Learning experiences have to be memorable and powerful, and they have to be designed for easy learner absorption. Each and every eLearning deliverable shares one common objective, regardless of its subject matter or its audience: make it stick! When information is not only acquired, but committed to long term memory, this is when the real eLearning magic happens.
- Integrate interactive elements and activities.
If you want the learners to remember the information, make them feel like they are active participants. Interactive activities can give them the opportunity to become fully engaged by the content, which means that they will be more likely to retain the knowledge or skills that are being taught. You can apply this eLearning retention tip in your own eLearning deliverable by creating interactive eLeaning presentations, that pose questions to the learners, or by integrating eLearning scenarios that allow them to make choices along the way. Also, integrating a variety of multimedia, such as videos, music, and images, can appeal to different learning needs and boost knowledge retention across the board.
- Make eLearning bite-sized.
Cognitive overload is the enemy of knowledge retention. As such, you'll want to avoid it at all costs. You can do this by making your eLearning course more digestible. Offer bite-sized modules that allow the learners to first acquire the information and then move forward to the next one. Keep text blocks short and concise to give learners a chance to absorb key idea or principles more effectively. Only include what's absolutely relevant and avoid cluttered screens; don't fear white space! All of these things can help to prevent cognitive overload, giving your learners the opportunity to absorb information more effectively, rather than being overwhelmed by an abundance of knowledge, text, and clutter.
- Include quizzes and exams throughout the eLearning course.
Periodically assessing learner knowledge is key, and one of the most effective ways to do this is by integrating quizzes and exams all throughout the eLearning course. Including a test at the end of the eLearning course is common practice for many eLearning professionals, but there are benefits to testing more often, such as at the end of every module or lesson. This will help to ensure that the learners have successfully absorbed the information before moving onto the next section, and will allow them to review key terms and ideas prior to acquiring new knowledge or skills.
- Use stories and characters to make it relatable.
To create a connection with the learners will inevitably help them to more effectively retain knowledge. By using storytelling in eLearning and creating characters that they can relate to (such as those that feature a situation they might encounter on-the-job or a character that they can sympathize with) you offer learners the chance to remember key concepts or ideas successfully. When creating stories don't go into too much detail about the characters or the situation, as this will narrow your audience reach. However, you'll still want to foster that emotional connection with them. So, make it relevant, relatable, and motivational, while still keeping it short and sweet in order to focus on the content rather than have the story steal the spotlight.
- Encourage them to put their newly acquired information to use.
Group role play exercises, simulations, and eLearning course recaps can all be used to boost retention. This is due to the fact that these practices encourage learners to mentally access previously acquired information, so that it can be rooted into their long term memory storage. It also allows them to carry out an all-important process- repetition. Completing the same tasks again and again, or learning about the same concept multiple times can help your learners to more easily absorb the information. For example, if you ask your learners to repeatedly participate in a simulation that requires specific skill sets, they will eventually master those skills.
- Create eLearning scenarios that tie into real world applications.
eLearning Scenarios are effective in virtually every eLearning course, because they give learners the opportunity to see the real world applications and benefits of the subject matter. Rather than just learning a concept for no apparent reason, which won't help them when it comes to knowledge retention, they can actually discover why they are learning the concepts or ideas. They can also test out the information they've learned by making decisions within the scenario that lead to consequences or rewards. This will help them to automatically see how to apply skills or newly found knowledge in their real life, so that they will be able to utilize it when the need arises.
- Use an avatar or narrator to draw attention to key points.
This last eLearning retention boosting tip can make a world of difference in terms of information absorption. If you include an avatar or narrator into your eLearning deliverable, you can point out key pieces of information that your learners must take away from the eLearning course, and minimize cognitive overload. You can use stock photo images, cartoons, or even just a recorded voice to integrate a virtual guide into your eLearning course, which can serve a wide range of purposes all of which can increase knowledge retention. For example, the avatar can offer tips to the learners, or ask them thought provoking questions throughout the eLearning course.
Use these invaluable tips to make the most of your learners’ eLearning experience and increase knowledge retention rates. They can be applied to any subject matter or niche. In fact, you can utilize them in any eLearning strategy, regardless of the model or theory, to make it even more powerful and engaging for your online audience.
Knowing how the mind works is an important part of boosting knowledge retention, as well. In the article Scientifically Proven Brain Facts That eLearning Professionals Should Know you'll find 6 interesting brain facts that can help you create engaging and memorable eLearning courses and online training events.