The way people learn at work has changed rapidly. Long-form training methods are no longer the ideal standard. Instead, employers are seeing better training results from short, broken-up, concise learning formats.
Spaced learning is one of the methods that is helping employees and other trainees retain more information over time. This method of learning engages employees while also giving them time to critically analyze the information they have just learned.
Here are the four way to implement spaced learning into your training program:
- Combine spaced learning with microlearning
- Repeat content in different formats
- Track results with quizzes
- Include interactive methods and real world simulations
Before we dive into these four areas, this article will give a brief overview of the fundamentals of spaced learning, and then describe how to implement spaced learning in order to enhance your training curriculum.
Overview of Spaced Learning
What is Spaced Learning?
Spaced learning is based on the highly researched theory that learning is enhanced when lessons are repeated after a certain lapse in time. In other words, learners are exposed to information multiple times with spaces in between. This is a simple but important concept that can make a big difference in how well people retain what they’ve learned.
Anyone who’s ever attended an intensive training such as a day or weekend seminar will be able to appreciate a common problem with learning. You are given hours of training and feel like you understand it. However, within a few days or weeks, you have trouble remembering it. This isn’t a flaw in your ability to learn but a reflection on how the brain works.
Benefits of Spaced Learning
It turns out that it’s perfectly normal to forget information soon after you’ve learned it. Through Hermann Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve, it was found that learners tend to forget material at an exponential rate during the first few days after being exposed to it. Ebbinghaus also found that memory could be strengthened through repetition and by using better memory representation techniques.
Spaced learning is one of the best tools to improve retention. As Harvard Magazine reports, spaced learning can improve learning by as much as 50%. Whether you need to train people on new software, help them pass a certification or compliance training, it’s essential to understand how spaced learning improve retention. In fact, there’s evidence that spaced learning helps in fields as diverse as sales, language learning, and medicine.
How to Implement Spaced Learning Into Your Training Program
Here are four guidelines to successfully implement spaced learning to improve the results of your training program.
1. Combine Spaced Learning With Microlearning
Microlearning is another important principle of learning and closely related to spaced learning. Microlearning focuses on delivering information in short, manageable chunks rather than trying to dump everything on learners all at once. This idea fits perfectly with spaced learning as you can deliver shorter nuggets of information with intervals in between.
The three areas to combine spaced learning with microlearning are:
- Product training: Providing short bursts of information that is spaced out over time will give customers and partners the confidence they need to effectively use your product
- Compliance training: Make compliance training more interesting and effective by breaking up the learning which will allow employees to easily internalize critical compliance information
- Onboarding: Don’t bombard new hires with a plethora of information. Instead create manageable-sized chunks of information for employees to digest
2. Repeat Content in Different Formats
One of the keys of spaced learning is to mix up the approach. People absorb information more thoroughly when they receive it via different senses and formats. Repetition is one of the cornerstones of learning; however, it’s far more effective to repeat the information if you vary the method. Someone can listen to the same lecture or study the same infographic many times and will quickly get bored. If, however, you mix it up, you’re more likely to hold their attention. For example:
- Create short modules that can be quickly absorbed
- Show videos: Video learning is one of the top eLearning trends right now. Interactive videos are especially powerful for engagement
- Create gamified exercises
- Show infographics: Information can often be conveyed more succinctly using visual tools than by making people read long blocks of text
- Give frequent quizzes
Using a variety of methods, with regular breaks, helps to keep learners involved and prevents boredom.
3. Track Results With Quizzes
It’s essential to keep track of how well learners are absorbing information. With spaced learning, administer frequent quizzes rather than relying on one comprehensive exam at the conclusion of the training. Quizzes, aside from tracking progress, can enhance learning as they compel learners to review the information as they’re taking the quiz. Knowing that they’ll be quizzed also motivates them to pay close attention.
QuickQuiz is a great application that allows you to quiz employees on their comprehension of learning content via Slack.
4. Include Interactive Methods and Real World Simulations
One of the best ways people learn is by doing. Incorporating interactive strategies and real-world simulations into your training improves engagement and fits in nicely with spaced learning. There’s still a place for traditional didactic learning methods such as printed material and lectures. However, it’s important to combine these with interactive methods such as gamified exercises and interactive videos.
Role-playing is also a powerful way to engage learners and reinforce the material. This is especially helpful when it comes to anything involving human behavior such as sales and customer service training or compliance training. With this approach, it’s important to carefully monitor the exercises and make sure that people are staying on the right track. If learners aren’t well versed in the material and there aren’t qualified trainers to correct them when appropriate, their mistakes can be reinforced.
Incorporate Spaced Learning Into All Your Training
Spaced learning isn’t a mere trend or gimmick but a process that’s based on substantial research. It’s a proven way to help employees and other learners absorb information more efficiently and to help them retain what they’ve learned. This style of learning is appropriate for all types of training in any industry. It’s not difficult to adopt spaced learning for your purposes, and you’ll find that your employees will respond favorably to it.
About Knowledge Anywhere
Knowledge Anywhere is an eLearning company focused on providing flexible, modern learning and development solutions that enable organizations to harness the power of an engaged, knowledgeable workforce.
Our Learning Management System, Virtual Reality Training, and Course Development services, combined with our experience and customer support enables our users to create a learning and development program that boosts sales and drives company growth.
Learn how you put education at the center of your organization with these great articles and resources.