Close this search box.

5 Great Knowledge Retention Tips to Make Information Stick

In an age where training content is more accessible than ever before, we need to ensure the right knowledge sticks. But driving real knowledge retention isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Whether training is delivered via the classroom, through guidebooks or by online learning solutions, it’s important that the key messages become sticky.

After all, if the learning isn’t properly embedded, it will never prompt the desired results. This is why we’ve become obsessed with knowledge retention. It’s time we remembered how to remember…

What is Knowledge Retention?

Knowledge retention is the process of absorbing (and ultimately retaining) information over time. If you learned something yesterday and have forgotten it today, then you’ve failed to retain the information and the Forgetting Curve has claimed another victim!

Luckily, certain mechanics can be applied to the learning process to assist your retention ability.

Check out what our very own Juliette has to say about The Forgetting Curve here:

Traditional memorisation techniques leant on approaches such as the Rote technique, which is a method of learning through repetition. Whilst these techniques can be effective, driving towards learner engagement is the best way to encourage learners to retain information.

Knowledge Retention at a Glance

It’s quite easy to forget that we forget quite easily:

  • After one hour, people retain only half of the information presented to them.
  • After one day, people forget more than 70% of everything they’ve learned.
  • After a week, people forget 90% of the information in their training.

Learning & Development professionals are naturally invested in knowledge retention, as it’s their job to drive organizational behavioural change.

Acknowledging changes in technology, social media and learning styles, let’s look at 5 great knowledge retention tips that L&D professionals can use to encourage knowledge retention among their learners.

1. Gamification

Gamification is the application of game mechanics to non-game environments. The rise in gamification over recent years has been phenomenal. From experience points and leaderboards to badges, challenges and levels, it seems like there is an endless supply of gaming mechanic’s that we can use to our advantage within online learning solutions.

As gamification creates learner engagement, it’s a fantastic tool for cultivating knowledge retention. After all, the more learners who engage with content (and return back to it), the more they get out of their learning experience. It’s a simple equation:

More engagement =  More exposure to learning content = More knowledge retained!

2. Social

Although online learning has lots of beneficial elements such as self-paced studying in the comfort of your own home, one of the main drawbacks is the lack of community. A good LMS will have fully functional social features such as discussion groups (what we call ‘Clubs’ on Growth Engineering LMS), instant messaging and a social stream for further knowledge sharing.

Encouraging debates about recent content can be just as significant as the learning itself. This provides the learner with an opportunity to reinforce the content, helping information to become sticky and simultaneously covering any knowledge gaps.

This will drive learners to greater results. What’s more, healthy competition makes the learning experience more memorable, encouraging greater knowledge retention.

 3. Mobile

Research shows that on average, we each look at our mobiles 150 times per day. The addiction is real! Whether a person is scrolling through social media, reading news articles, taking pictures or checking messages; phones are never far away.

Therefore, it’s easier to apply mobile learning as part of your everyday life. This ease of access will inspire knowledge retention due to repeated views. The convenience is also a huge benefit for other reasons. You can learn on a train journey, whilst waiting in a queue or even in bed just before the lights go out.

Just think, you have instant access to an endless supply of learning content just waiting in your pocket!

 4. Microlearning

Microlearning is an immensely effective way of retaining knowledge, as this learning approach provides a counter-balance to our ever-shrinking attention spans. As Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered with his famous Forgetting Curve, after 7 days we forget 90% of what we’ve learnt. With so many modern-day distractions (i.e. the internet!), it’s easy to see this figure dwindling further.

Additionally, due to modern the learner’s busy schedule, we’re only able to devote 1% of our working week to learning. That’s just 4.8 minutes a day. Microlearning counteracts this by making learning more digestible. By 2019, videos will be responsible for 80% of traffic on the internet. By sharing content via short video clips, you’ll be delivering microlearning in its most effective and popular format.

After all, employees are 75% more likely to watch a video rather than read the text. Microlearning and the use of video within your content is a wonderful approach to keep within your knowledge retention toolbox.

5. Campaign Style Learning

Campaign learning is a type of learning which relies on distributing bite-sized content at regular intervals, with one clear end objective. You can deliver this type of training via different mediums across a set period of time. Releasing content at set intervals creates a sense of excitement and expectation amongst your colleagues.

Campaign learning can include everything from videos to blogs, to quizzes and much more. With microlearning involved, as well as scheduled releases, we’re increasing the odds that knowledge will be retained by increasing the number of learning opportunities provided.

Now You Have The Knowledge…

Knowledge retention has always been an uphill battle, as Hermann Ebbinghaus proved all those years ago. We can’t help but think that it’s become even harder to absorb information as technology has become more readily available and the number of distractions in our lives have increased.

Social media, catch-up TV, streaming sites and the internet in general have diminished our focus, therefore shrinking our power to retain information.

Luckily, we’ve found some antidotes! Gamification makes learning more engaging and encourages repeat ‘plays’. This in turn has an impact on the amount of knowledge the learner retains. Social learning will help you tie your learnt data to others, encouraging a robust learning community who’ll rely on each other!

Naturally, ensuring that your content is mobile-friendly will also help in the battle against forgetfulness. Knowing that relevant information is at hand whenever it’s required is a massive bonus! Microlearning isn’t just a trend, it’s become the norm and campaign style learning complements all these teaching methods.

When tackling forgetfulness in the modern era of learning, try to remember our amazing memory boosters!

If you enjoyed this article on knowledge retention, you’ll love our Guide To The Science of  Behaviour Change. It brings the science of learning to life and will help you apply it to help your learners change their behaviour (or even your own!).

Like What You're Reading? Join the Growth Squad!

Subscribe now to receive exclusive access to our weekly newsletter. It’s packed full of the best L&D research, analysis and downloadable resources.

Table of Contents

Share Post

Read More About Engagement, Online Learning

Like What You're Reading? Join the Growth Squad!

Subscribe now to receive exclusive access to our weekly newsletter. It’s packed full of the best L&D research, analysis and downloadable resources.


Unlock The World’s Most Impactful L&D Resources!

Our unrivalled treasure trove of white papers, research, tip sheets, infographics and more gives you all the L&D knowledge you need to start making an impact today. Happy exploring!

We are always working to improve your experience on our website. Part of this involves using cookies to collect data for statistics and personalization. Further information can be found in our Privacy Policy and Cookies Policy.