Training reinforcement or post-training reinforcement, a science-based strategy, utilizes retrieval practices to improve the learning retention of employees. Retrieval practices, which include short quizzes, help employees convert newly acquired knowledge to one which is longer-lasting.
Training reinforcement is one of the most effective ways to bridge the gap between training and performance. If you want to implement training reinforcement practices in your workplace, here are 10 things you need to know about it:
1. It Complements Your Current Training Program
Training reinforcement complements your existing training program, as it begins right after your employees have completed a course. Training reinforcement is for four to six weeks and consists of regular five-minute interactive retrieval practices.
However, do not confuse reinforcement with relearning. Most people forget the information they learned within two weeks due to the forgetting curve. Training reinforcement, on the other hand, focuses on knowledge employees have already acquired, thus resulting in an improved return on learning investment than relearning.
2. It Is Not a One-Time Training Session
Reinforcement training is not a one-time training session, meaning that it takes place often. If you want to reinforce the information that employees have learned, you need to provide them with information in the form of short quizzes. Each time you provide them with a training session, you need to follow it up by training reinforcement exercises. Provide them reinforcement training at work so they can use the information they learned the very same day.
3. It Can Include Intervals of 2-4-7-14
The intervals you select depend on the type of content you have included in your training reinforcement program. For the training reinforcement program to be effective, you need to send reminders two days after training, four days after training, seven days after training, and then two weeks after training.
You can provide your employees with short quizzes after their training session and after two days pass, you can send them the first reminder. Your learning retention improves after you have forgotten some things from what you learned. That is why, when you study for an exam the night before, cramming your head with information, and do not use it later, you will end up forgetting most of it if not all.
In training reinforcement, employees use the information they learned to minimize the probability of forgetting the information. When you send employees reminders in spaced intervals, you are helping them recall the information after they have forgotten some of it. In return, this strengthens their memory and allows them to recall the information later when they actually need it.
4. Its Design Should Be Based on the Science of Learning and Recalling
When businesses design their training reinforcement program, they need to consider the underlying science of learning and recalling behind it. The underlying science behind it looks at the ability of the brain to retain the information it learns.
For instance, it should include distributed practice, spaced repetition, and retrieval practice. It will help your employees apply what they have just learned. The chances of them forgetting the information that are less if they need to retrieve or recall information in their mind to perform different tasks throughout the day.
5. It Benefits All Industry Verticals
A diverse number of departments in the company, from customer services, sales, technical and safety training, and compliance will benefit from initiating training reinforcement. Some of the industries that should make training reinforcement a part of their training program include hospitality, banking, information technology, banking, manufacturing, and retail, just to name a few.
Since training takes place on a mobile device, it streamlines the adaptation process. Businesses will need to operate training reinforcement programs on a suitable and user-friendly software platform for mobile devices.
Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and cloud operate most training reinforcement platforms. For instance, you can use an app in which your employees receive questions about a certain product or process and receive quick responses to the questions asked.
Another way training reinforcement programs work is out in the field due to conversational AI. Your employee is outside in the field and a customer asks them a question pertaining to a product or service. Your employee, through voice commands, can answer their question instantly. In addition to this, you can create a chatbot that sends them a text on their mobile device. It is a good way to train sales representatives dealing with customers out of the office.
Businesses that want to introduce this type of training into their workplace can also combine training reinforcement with gamification and microlearning strategies for better results. The combination of these three strategies will create a highly interactive and engaging environment and promote effective and relevant learning experiences.
6. It Can Be Tailored to Employees’ Individual Needs
You can tailor and personalize the training reinforcement program to your employees’ individual needs. When you personalize the training reinforcement program to your employees’ individual needs, you are increasing the overall effectiveness of the program. By customizing the training program, you are building both their competence and confidence levels.
For example, you might want your employees to complete a confidence assessment. Once they complete the confidence assessment, you can provide them with mini-games, tailored to their needs. They will play these mini-games while at work during the day.
Gradually, the training reinforcement program will help them improve their weakness and build their strengths. It will also help you assess their confidence levels in different areas.
7. It Should Begin Immediately after Training
Reinforcement training needs to commence right after training ends. This ensures that the information your employees learned during the training remains fresh in their memory. They will continue to learn, thus making them less likely to forget the lessons the learned in the live training program.
When your employees’ reinforcement training begins, ensure to maintain engagement throughout the program. You should provide them with instantaneous, meaningful, and helpful content, which they can apply to their work.
You should continue to communicate with your employees throughout the training reinforcement program. You can communicate with them in person or via email or phone, whichever way you find most convenient.
By communicating with them from time to time, you will know whether your program was a success or not. However, talking to your employees is not the only way to measure the success of the program. You need to have in place Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you would like to achieve at three, six, or nine weeks.
Once you have compiled the training reinforcement data, you need to develop an actionable intelligence for your business. Actionable intelligence is training reinforcement data that businesses use to make decisions that would improve your training program.
The aim of the program is to modify the behaviors of the employees and by measuring its success, you will know whether it is working or not. In the event you are not accomplishing the objectives and goals set beforehand, you can modify the training reinforcement program accordingly.
8. It Can Incorporate Several Reinforcement Strategies
You can incorporate a variety of reinforcement strategies. You can create podcasts of important content from the training program. Your employees can listen to the podcasts in the event they missed a session or if the concept was not clear to them.
The duration of each podcast should not be more than nine minutes long and not less than three minutes. The shorter they are, the more likely they are to retain the attention of listeners.
If not podcasts, consider email reminders. You can send email reminders to your employees every two weeks. You can write the emails beforehand and automate them to go to each employee on a certain date and time. In the emails, including tips, strategies, video and books recommendations, and more. If you are doing a podcast, you can add a link to it as well.
An online discussion forum is also an effective way to increase the participation of employees. After the training program finished, you can create an online discussion platform. It will allow your employees to gain input about various tasks from others as well as receive tips, advice, and strategies on how to perform their job better.
Even you can use the online discussion forum to determine the different types of issues within the business the employees are experiencing and identify different training needs. Last, but not least, you can incorporate field work via virtual training.
Virtual training lasts 90 minutes, but it can be shorter, it depends on the type of training you want your employees to receive. When the training ends, you can provide your employees with an assignment that they need to complete and bring to the next training session. By participating in virtual training and giving them assignments to complete, it gives employees the opportunity to practice and hone their new skills, using them in real life work situations.
9. It Provides Businesses with a Return on Investment (ROI)
By incorporating the training reinforcement program into your workplace, you will receive a Return on Investment (ROI). Your employees will utilize what they learned through the training session to perform their duties, as the training reinforcement program will ensure they do, as it will reinforce the lesson.
To support the success of the training reinforcement program among employees, here are a few statistics, courtesy of the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science:
- 5 percent of people retained the information they learned from the training session.
- 10 percent of people retained the information they learned from reading.
- 20 percent of people retained the information they learned from audio-visual.
- 30 percent of people retained the information when they saw a demonstration.
- 50 percent of people retained the information when they participated in a group discussion.
- 75 percent of people retained the information when they practiced what they learned in the training session.
- 90 percent of people retained the information when they taught someone else or used the information they learned immediately.
10. It Can Involve the Manager
You can involve the manager by asking them to assess the changing behaviors of employees. They can inform you on whether they have noticed employees changing their behaviors to perform better at their assigned tasks. It is important for you to involve the manager in training reinforcement, as they can observe the employees and see if the training has proven to be effective or not.
You can also include thought questions. Thought questions will help you obtain the employees’ perspective on how they used what they learned in training while at work. This will help you add on to their training as well, giving you an insight on what things you need to work on to further improve their productivity. It will provide you with a clearer picture on whether you are achieving the desired outcome of the training program or not.
The Final Words
If you plan to incorporate training reinforcement into your workplace, you need to understand everything there is to know about to ensure a successful execution. Your employees will find the program beneficial, as it will help them improve their existing skills and build new ones.