Understanding how your employees learn can help you make the most of your training and education investments.
One quality that most of the world’s most successful people share is a commitment to lifelong learning. To maximize your organization’s productivity and excellence, as well as employee engagement and loyalty, it’s essential to promote learning. Now a new report with insights into how people learn can help you make the most of your education and training investments.
“This Is How We Learn” draws on the experiences of more than one million people and shares some key findings about employee learning:
- Mobile learning is increasing, and mobile “students” study more frequently and effectively.
- People generally answer questions more accurately in the morning. However, evenings are the best time to learn. In fact, the “magic hour” for learning efficiency is between 8 and 9 pm.
- People generally forget most (70%) of what they learn within 24 hours; and 86% of information is lost in a matter of days. However, a few minutes of review each day can help master knowledge/skills and help retain learning.
- Topics/subjects with core foundational principles, i.e., information used as a basis for future learning (such as addition/subtraction in mathematics), are usually easier for people to absorb and retain.
- Study habits such as cramming and re-reading actually are harmful to learning. Instead, people benefit from distributed learning, which increases knowledge retention by spacing out learning episodes across time rather than limiting education to one session. Also beneficial is retrieval practice, in which learners attempt to recall previously studied material. This, the study says, has proven to be more effective than spending the same amount of time rereading or restudying the same material.
- Class size may not be as important as you may think. In fact, the study suggests that students don’t learn or engage with materials more in small classes. In fact, students in larger classes generally are as successful at engaging with and learning from materials as their counterparts in smaller classes. At the same time, students in classes with 200 or more students made 53% more progress toward their assigned goals than students in 5- to 20-person classes, according to the study.
The study authors conclude, “For employees and employers, the existential threat of automation and influx of technology into the workplace are changing the way we work. The solution to these challenges…is better learning.” They add, “By replacing bad habits like cramming and re-reading with proven cognitive science principles, we can dramatically improve people’s ability to learn and retain information long-term.”