Written by Daniela Alvaran
The founder of AcuiZen, a digital application for the workforce to communicate, collaborate, and continually upskill argues that one of his biggest takeaways when researching the neuroscience behind learning was the importance of retrieval practice.
This same thought is shared by various experts in the field, including psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus. Ebbinghaus claimed that:
"With a considerable amount of repetitions, it is much more advantageous to distribute them correctly over a period of time than to group them in a single step."
In other words, arguing that the same amount of repeated study of the same information spaced out over time leads to higher long-term retention.
In today’s fast-changing world of work reskilling and upskilling has become an absolute necessity. Thus, when we apply the concept of retrieval practice it is important to note that reskilling and upskilling are not just about absorbing new information. Instead, it is about forming the neural connections between the existing and new information. This is best done by deliberately retrieving the new information from where it has been stored and by putting it in use through practice. Yet, when this is not practicable, the other option would be to incorporate some form of quizzing to assess retention. When done at spaced intervals, it aids the formation of the neural connections and cements the learning.
Moreover, JC argues that one of the main reasons for the poor return on investments from most training programs is that the emphasis is almost always on the provision of information, ticking the boxes, and maybe issuing a certificate. The result of these approaches is that organizations end up training or certifying individuals who are not ready for the job.
At AcuiZen we consciously address this issue by incorporating a mechanism to provide post-learning interventions. By sending out a series of relevant message-based quizzes at spaced intervals we ensure better outcomes by using the science of retrieval practice.
To conclude, retrieval practice is a concept that aligns with our philosophy at AcuiZen. We believe that the most effective way for frontline workers to retain information is through learning by doing and not by cramming information!