Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Studying By Info Retrieval In Office

Make your learners really future-proof

I’m not sure who it was who said, “You shouldn’t let your schooling interfere with your education.” Whoever it was definitely had a point to make. The world of work as we knew it has changed as a result of the pandemic. This has accelerated digital transformation initiatives, which in turn have brought the new technologies of AI, data analytics, cybersecurity IoT, etc. to the fore.

As remote working will continue to be the norm for most knowledge workers, eLearning, or learning on the Internet, has become the preferred mode for almost all learning needs. While it is relatively easy for anyone to create content on the web, there are rules and principles that must be followed to get the most out of learners. Hence, it becomes more and more important to choose the right learning partner when making the decision for the whole organization.

Some of the questions that need to be asked are:

  • Is there a scientific method that is followed in creating the content?
  • Is this in line with what research has been saying about how to deliver content to adult learners?

Here is my attempt to answer some of these questions:

Improve and promote learning with retrieval exercises

Dr. Pooja K. Agarwal, Ph.D., cognitive scientist and author of the book Powerful Teaching: Unleashing the Science of Learning explains the practice of retrieval as a learning strategy by which we try to get information out of our heads instead of storing it in our heads. One way to do this is to survey the learners regularly. To quote Pooja, “By retrieving or retrieving information, our memories of that information are strengthened and less likely to be forgotten. This is a powerful tool to improve learning.”

There are 3 reasons this is good for learning:

1. Use it or lose it factor

When we call up our knowledge, the memory of that information remains relevant and we can call it up when we need it.

2. Desired difficulty level

According to Robert Bjork, a distinguished psychology professor at the University of California, when we are asked about what we have learned so far, we experience an easy struggle in thinking and remembering what we have learned. This fight is good and results in improved long-term performance.

3. Metacognition

When learners try a quiz, they are presented with the reality of their knowledge versus their perceived understanding of the subject. The quiz serves as a reality check of your supposed mastery of the topic. These low-stakes quizzes not only evaluate learning, but also help maintain knowledge and improve performance.

It can be seen how a test at the end of an eLearning course can help learners store the information in their long-term memory. This information can now be retrieved for later use if necessary. Therefore, it is not enough for an organization to provide the learners with the concepts and principles of a topic. They would also need performance support to help them succeed in the workplace. This is where electronic performance support systems (EPSS) such as work aids, checklists, exercise laboratories, etc. come into play.

Increase the level of difficulty with each level

In 1979, the American educational theorist Charles Reigeluth introduced the elaboration theory of instruction design, which states that learning content must be presented in ascending order of difficulty. So, if the training program covers a complex area of ​​technology or process, the lesson must begin with providing learners with a basic version of the subject. Then switch to the more difficult or complex subject areas. During each lesson, learners need to summarize the previous one in order to have a full understanding of the topic. All of this is done taking into account that the learner’s cognitive load or their mental resources are not overloaded.

Curate your learning

When designing the learning material, professional competence is an essential factor that must be taken into account. The design of the courses is just as important. Dual coding theory is careful to use the right combination of pictures, words and animations to make learning easier. As humans, we need both verbal associations and visual images to increase learning effectiveness. Through the combination of verbal and visual information in eLearning courses, the data in long-term memory is coded twice. This means that a properly designed eLearning course can help learners by strengthening the memory trail in long-term memory. It also follows that a poorly designed course can hinder the learning process, as the increased cognitive load on learners makes the entire exercise ineffective.

Curated learning paths created with these principles in mind help learners move forward on their journey. You now have a clear step-by-step path to follow to achieve mastery. Multiple learning methods such as courses, books as teaching material, and the ability to practice skills in a laboratory help in short-term knowledge acquisition and long-term performance support. This provides them with a psychologically safe place to practice their newly acquired skills without fear of damaging expensive equipment. This way, they can maximize their learning in a distraction-free environment. Learning becomes an engaging and relaxed experience that leads to more confident and focused employees.

In the unprecedented times we find ourselves in, future-proofing the workforce by providing them with appropriate training and retraining is no longer optional. This means that organizations need to work with learning partners who have a well-stocked content library. It is also imperative that the content available is based on the principles and theories mentioned above.

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