This is where the investment in learning is maximized: consistent reinforcement and practice of new information and skills helps continue to shift the information from short-term to long-term memories. Training (or learning) plans should incorporate post-training activities and feedback mechanisms to uncover knowledge gaps and identify complementary as well as additional training opportunities.
Because adults use a multitude of different ways to obtain, absorb, and retain information, consider the following medium:
- Online videos that dive into more details of each new competency
- Printable, brief user guides for quick and easy reference
- Pamphlets circulated that explains the ‘making of’ new initiatives
- Podcasts to reinforce key components
- Interactive ‘trivia hours’ where learners team up and test their skills
- Weekly online micro-tests to gauge how well knowledge and proficiency is improving
- Quarterly or annual events to introduce new and refresh past information
In our experience, one of the best methods to ensure long-lasting proficiency is to develop a train-the-trainer (TtT) certification program, which builds in-house expertise. In any of these techniques, it is often useful to find inspiration from pop-culture such as reality TV or TV series, game shows, board games, and online games. However, a balance must be struck between incorporating the ‘fun’ with keeping the overall tone and content mature and professional. Adult learners need to be engaged, but they will quickly lose interest if the theme or tone is perceived as silly or nonessential. Above all, remember that when people repeatedly learn and recall information over a prolonged time frame, they are more likely to retain the information.