Webinar Summary:Leveraging Brain Science in eLearning

May 3, 2017

On Tuesday November 4th, our CEO Carol Leaman had the distinct pleasure of being joined by Dr. Alice Kim from York University to co-present a webinar titled: Leveraging the Latest in Brain Science to Deliver the Next Generation of eLearning (the webinar is now available on-demand).

Over the course of the webinar, Alice discussed some of the latest research in brain science and Carol explored how global organizations are leveraging this research to deliver more effective eLearning. Here are our top three takeaways from the webinar:

1. Pick a principle to start with.

During the webinar, Alice discussed three major principles in brain science:

  • Spacing (also known as interval reinforcement): This idea is basically the opposite of cramming, which is a concept that I am sure is familiar to a lot of us. By spacing out the repetition of content, studies show that the that long-term retention of that content is increased. What this means for you as a reader … forget the ‘firehose’ approach and instead, bite-size your learning and deliver it in digestible pieces over time.
     
  • Repeated retrieval: This principle focuses on getting learners to repeatedly recall information, which thereby solidifies the information in memory. A practical application here would be, as opposed to simply studying information multiple times, study it once and then ask learners a series of questions related to the information. During the webinar, Alice mentioned that repeated retrieval works best when it is followed by immediate feedback and requires effort (i.e. the more challenging the questions, the better for memory).
     
  • Deep encoding: The idea here is that the more deeply and meaningfully you process information, the more likely you are to remember it. Again here a practical idea would be to deliver learning in bite-sized chunks so that it can be more meaningfully processed.

2. For best results, combine all the principles.

This was probably the biggest takeaway from the webinar. Through her own research, Alice found that when you combine retrieval practice with spacing, recall increased from 78% to 97% (get more details in our brain science datasheet). By practicing repeated retrieval in a spaced manner, you are also allowing employees the chance to more deeply encode the information, which – as we mentioned earlier – leads to greater retention. 

3. Brain science is the way to sustainment. 

During Carol’s portion of the webinar, she discuss how global organizations are leveraging brain science in eLearning programs across a variety of industries. She mentioned a common problem across all of these organizations, is that employees are just not remembering and applying what they need to know to do their jobs effectively. What this ultimately comes down to is a lack of sustainment in training. Carol identified how the principles that Alice discussed can help significantly increase the sustainment of training; therefore, leading to powerful business results such as a 54% decrease in safety incidents at Walmart or a 66% reduction in error rates at Capital BlueCross.

Did you have a chance to watch the webinar? What were your thoughts? If you’re leveraging brain science in your work, we’d love to know the impact it’s having for you. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or tweet us

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