Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Retrieval Follow Actions For On-line Coaching

Activities to Retrieve to Consider for Your Online Training Course

Retrieval is the fine art of accessing information that you have stored in your memory banks and strengthening the key concepts. This helps to shorten the forgetting curve and ensures that the takeaways are actually taken with you into the future. Instead of being left behind for lack of use. It’s not just about summarizing the information by reading a summary or cramming before a big exam. Retrieval relies on the application, improved understanding and the formation of new connections with the existing mental schema. Here are 7 creative ways you can incorporate the on-demand practice activities into your online training course.

7 Inspired Resources for the Retrieval Practice for Online Training

1. Employee hosted events

Staff must fully understand the subject in order to teach it. This makes live online training events ideal for on-demand exercise activities. Assign topics or let them choose. Then invite them to host an event that explores every facet of the challenge, task, or compliance issue. Researching the topic and remembering what they learned during their online training strengthens the knowledge. Participants can also refresh their memories and actively call up ideas during the event. Think of it as a more sociable way of getting the mind going and linking information to a positive emotional experience.

2. Skill-based simulations

The advantages of simulations in the real world are well known. However, these powerful online training tools can also facilitate retrieval activities and improve mastery of skills. For example, the focus of the simulation is on a task that involves problem solving and interpersonal skills. Employees need to use their existing knowledge and talents to solve the customer problem or land the sale. You need to immerse yourself in their memory not only to retrieve the information, but to apply it in new situations and contexts.

3. Serious games

Serious games are one of the most fun fetch training activities. Employees need to use their knowledge base to move to the next level or to collect the required points. You can even turn it into a retro-themed game show to test your know-how and refresh your memory. The key is to get them to remember knowledge and apply it without realizing it. It happens organically as they try to reach that finish line. However, serious games also allow them to collect eLearning feedback as they progress. This improves behaviors and corrects mistakes before they are deeply engulfed in their personal cognitions.

4. Before and after pop quizzes

Before the online training, offer your employees a pop quiz to test their knowledge. Then, after the online training course, follow up with another to see how far they have come and reinforce their key takeaways. Many organizations incorporate a formal assessment at the end to assess overall mastery. But these bite-sized quizzes help employees focus on a topic or task so that they can actively access the information they have just learned while consolidating existing knowledge.

5. Daily blog submissions

Every day, post a prompt or question on your company’s eLearning blog that focuses on a topic you’ve covered in the past few days or weeks. Employees need to search their memory banks for the answer or related ideas. Then, formulate your answer and add it to the comment section. Peers can read each other’s responses and provide feedback on eLearning. Or simply discover personal sticking points or inaccuracies. For example, a colleague realizes that he misunderstood the topic of compliance when he took the online training course last month. However, this retrieval exercise clears the confusion and gives you a chance to reinforce applicable concepts. Go a step further by giving employees the ability to start their own eLearning blogs, where they can post weekly prompts and explore various topics in depth.

6. Employee debates

Invite employees to take a stand on an online training topic and then discuss it with their colleagues online. Things should be polite and everyone should respect different perspectives. Establish some guidelines and avoid controversial topics that can lead to conflict. The goal of this activity is to encourage employees to retrieve the information they have learned and explore related concepts. For example, the employee argues that Method A is a better way of completing the customer service assignment. You must be familiar with the benefits of this method, the steps to take, and how to minimize risk. All of this requires them to dig into their memory banks and not just remember their training, but contextualize the knowledge. Organize and manipulate it so that they can use it to defend their point of view and achieve victory.

7. Storytelling

There are two ways to approach this final of the retrieval exercise activities presented here. The first is to incorporate stories into your eLearning course design so that staff can access information and reflect on the topic. For example, what they would do in a similar situation or how the knowledge can help them improve job performance. The second approach is to invite them to tell their own stories. This can be in the form of a podcast, slide show, or presentation. By sharing the story, employees use their memories not only to convey the information, but to put it in a realistic framework. For example, how they applied their negotiating skills or compliance knowledge on the job. Again, this is a great way to facilitate peer-to-peer interactions and give them a chance to explore the topics from different perspectives.


These seven retrieval practice activities go beyond simply retrieving the information and help learners in the company assign meanings. The subject becomes woven into their mental paths instead of being temporarily stored in their memory banks. However, different tools work for different people. So, you should research your audience and identify their behavior, preferences, and pre-existing knowledge in order to personalize your online training strategy.

We all know that memory plays an important role in the learning process, but how exactly do you create a “sticky” online training course? Download our eBook Getting Started with the Industry: Become an Instructional Designer and Master LXD Basics for tips on how to create a memorable eLearning experience.


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