Learning Reinforcement is a training strategy used to further develop learners’ understanding of key concepts.
Learning Reinforcement drives long-term knowledge retention and sustained behavior change by promoting the use of concepts and skills covered in training. In this way, learners intentionally apply what they have learned in the context of their role.
Our experts recommend these three tips for using learning reinforcement:
- Don’t Overcomplicate Pre- And Post-Session Activities
- Be As Context-Specific As Possible
- Keep Consistent Language With Your Training
Training is not a set-it-and-forget-it task – it’s an ongoing process of engagement, development, and reinforcement.
Modern employees have multiple and often competing demands for their time and attention, which is far from ideal for learning new skills and retaining training content long-term. With some planning and a little creativity, you can use learning reinforcement to help your training content stick and help your employees build the skills they need to succeed.
At Roundtable Learning, our team of instructional designers has helped organizations design and implement training programs that meet the needs of their learners. We’ve designed customized learning programs that help employees learn new skills and created learning reinforcement activities to create a space for employees to practice what they learned and meet the objectives of the training.
This article will define learning reinforcement and provide tips for incorporating it into your corporate training programs.
What Is Learning Reinforcement?
Learning Reinforcement is a strategy that helps learners solidify their understanding of a concept or skill. After a learner has been exposed to a new idea, the training is strengthened through application, assessment, or expansion. By continuously building on previously learned concepts, learners’ will remember that information, driving sustainable behavior change.
Let’s look at a real-life example, learning to drive. Most of us started the process of learning to drive by observing others. That learning may have been reinforced with a classroom Drivers Ed experience. After that, we applied our knowledge by getting behind the wheel of a car and practicing and practicing, eventually taking (and hopefully passing) a driving test. Over time, we built on our prior learning by learning how to drive other cars and even other types of vehicles.
Each stage compounds new information and perspectives needed to make a drive a car. This is what learning reinforcement does – it promotes retention and solidifies our understanding by emphasizing application. Learning Reinforcement accomplishes this by creating a full cycle of development that engages learners before and after their main learning activity.
Using Train Me, Try Me, Test Me For Learning Reinforcement
You may have heard the expression, “use it or lose it.” Learners forget 90% of what they’ve learned within the first month after training if their learning isn’t properly reinforced. This can be avoided with Train Me, Try Me, and Test Me, an eLearning strategy designed for learners to break down new learning material in digestible chunks. Train Me, Try Me, and Test Me is completed as such:
- Train Me: During this stage, learners are exposed to new materials and concepts. Learners acquire the prerequisite knowledge required to practice and gain mastery over new learning material.
- Try Me: During this stage, learners are tasked with applying and retaining learned information through activities. Development at this stage is an iterative process of practice and feedback.
- Test Me: During this stage, learners are assessed on their mastery and understanding of new concepts and skills. This can be done by self-assessment, observation, or formalized assessment.
Tips For Incorporating Learning Reinforcement Into Your Training
Here are three tips that you can use to integrate learning reinforcement into your training successfully:
Tip 1: Don’t Overcomplicate Pre- And Post-Session Activities
Learning Reinforcement ensures that training content is retained long-term, but make sure that your pre- and post-session activities don’t overload learners with too much information or activities that feel like busy work. When designing a training program, remember to keep it simple.
Pre-session activities should act as “exposure” for learners to understand what will be covered during the training and engage them in the content. For instance, if the primary learning activity is classroom-based, consider sending a short eLearning module to learners before the training introducing key concepts. This way, learners are more prepared, and the classroom session can be more interactive.
Post-session activities should act as “reminders” and drive application. For example, a simple email reminding learners about key points of the program and ways to apply the training can help solidify their understanding and drive behavior change.
Tip 2: Be As Context-Specific As Possible
Organizations need to make pre- and post-training materials as specific to each learner as possible. If you want to encourage the learner to apply their learning, you have to show them how the learning is applied in the context of their day-to-day job.
In order to do so, organizations can provide multiple job-specific resources to their learners. Learners can be sent a “Thanks for Completing Your Training” email with an attached, customized job aid they can refer to moving forward. Learners can also be sent a document that highlights important key concepts from training, alongside brief descriptions of those key concepts.
Suppose learners participated in training that reinforced their knowledge of stocking warehouses. In that case, all the pre-and post-training materials should cover those key areas, such as stocking guidelines, safety protocols, and how-to instructional manuals that may be useful at their specific job.
Tip 3: Keep Consistent Language In Your Training
Your entire training should use the same language within its pre-session, post-session, and main learning activities. This avoids confusion in learners and helps to create consistent overall training, as learners won’t be confused about sudden new terminologies.
Keeping language consistent in your training also avoids the risk of learners forgetting information.
For instance, let’s refer to our warehouse stocking example. If learners are taught about specific locations within warehouses, keep the terminologies the same: don’t refer to the same location as both “Aisle 1” and “Row 1” so that learners are not confused about their learned material.
Improve Your Training Program And Incorporate These Tips!
We hope that by reading this article, you’ve learned about learning reinforcement and three tips that will help you with its implementation. Schedule a meeting with our team of experts to learn more!