Train and Retain: Conquer the “Forgetting Curve” with Spaced Learning

#businessprocesses #employeetraining #entrepreneurialtraining #forgettingcurve #franchise #knowledgeretention #processadoption #processdocumentation #processtraining #spacedlearning Mar 30, 2024

When it comes to business, have you ever had a brilliant idea or solution that seems hazy a few days later? The brain is amazing. It absorbs information quickly. But, it is also wired to forget information just as fast – especially if it’s not reinforced.

Imagine you’ve developed an agreed-upon way to package your product. You train your team. Everyone indicates they understand. How confident are you that weeks later they will be following the steps perfectly? Not much, right?

People forgetting to do things the right way is not malicious. It’s actually pretty normal. It’s captured in a concept called the “forgetting curve.” 

The Science Behind the Forgetting

The forgetting curve, a concept developed by psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, shows how information retention plummets over time without review. In the first 24 hours, our teams can forget up to 70% of new information. Within 30 days, they may lose 90% of the information learned.

The good news is there’s a solution.

Spaced Learning

If you want your team to remember training you’ve given on your business processes, consider spaced learning. Spaced learning involves spreading your training sessions over time, optimizing information retention.

For example, in a fast-paced restaurant environment, remembering specific food storage temperatures is a minor – but critical -- detail during a lunch rush. Proper storage is crucial for food safety. Some successful restaurants implement space learning. Here’s how spaced learning can make a difference:

Week 1: Daily Review

  Focus on safe storage temperatures for different food categories (dairy, meat, produce).

  Reinforce this knowledge consistently.

Weeks 2-4: Weekly Quizzes and Discussions

  Test your team’s retention with quick quizzes or whiteboard discussions.

  Keep the information fresh in their minds

Ongoing: Visual Aids

  Display color-coded charts with safe storage temperatures in refrigerators and prep areas.

  Make it easy for everyone to access and remember.

This ongoing spaced learning approach involves a variety of ways to package your process to also appeal to different learning styles. The end result ensures critical food safety information sticks, preventing costly mistakes and protecting your customers’ well-being.

 Action Item

If you have packaged a core process or subprocess, identify a critical step in that process your team needs to master. Create a simple reminder system to revisit that process at gradually increasing intervals. 

Better yet, use existing meeting rhythms! 

I’m a big fan of using 5-10 minutes of your departmental weekly Level 10 meeting for training. No additional meeting time or tools are required!

To maximize your process documentation work and solidify process adoption, spaced learning and empower your team’s success.

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