Serious Factory’s Blog

Knowledge Retention and reference points by Tahir Khan, Digital Learning Expert

Plenty of research confirms, active engagement increases learning and paves the way for retaining knowledge fluently. Usage of interactive scenarios and simulations truly places the learner in the working environment with the opportunity to learn from under/over – sight while simultaneously being able to learn from fitting behavior.

An example?

For instance, someone on their way to work, on the train, playing a simulation (or serious game) on their smartphone, is in a situation they would face at work and are asked to choose 1 out of 4 actions to move forward. Each of these actions have specific out comes, each outcome is the part where inserting the memorable elements is most crucial. As the learner partakes in the outcome of the action they chose, whether it’s a positive or negative result, there must be something which is directly relatable to the learner. This is where a reference point to serve memory would be created to bring the learner back to the moment in the simulation, when faced with the same situation in real life. The reference point could be an emotional attachment to the outcome of the action chosen, an image they saw in the simulation or even an action or movement within the simulation which is completely unrelated to the situation all together, yet somehow managed to get stuck in the learner’s mind and bring them back to a crucial learning moment.

The creation of the reference points is where a lot of careful thought and research comes in. In order to create the most effective reference points one must have a good idea of the character, of whom they wish to create these reference points within.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

We want to be the best of the best. To be the best of the best we must know everything about everything. To know everything about everything we need to have unlimited access to unlimited information within our minds at all times. If creating reference points allows us to have pre-prepared responses to situations we have already practiced many times and seen many different outcomes to. Creating these reference points is extremely important and the more of them we have the more prepared we are. “When you know better you do better” – Maya Angelou

Knowing the character of the learner, and knowing how they interpret and view certain situations is where the basis of creating the point of reference, to ensure knowledge is retained in the most efficient way, begins.

The return, on investment, of time and effort, to know how to better train people so that they can do better in their positions that help you rise as well as them, is immeasurable as long as it’s forever evolving. “Learning inside must be equal to or greater than change outside the organization – or the organization is in decline and may not survive” – Jack Welch

Another example?

A simulation (or serious game) where candidates pass through different stages of a scenario and each stage has different MCQs, logic quizzes and character specific interactions where there wouldn’t necessarily be any wrong choices, yet each choice, whilst continuing on a path through the next stages, gives an insight into a general learner/character type of each candidate. Thus, allowing trainers to sort candidates into categories of learner/character types in order to better know how to train who.

The general principals and methods remain the same in many cases. How we put these into play today and adapt them from peer to peer can be challenging. Of course, with all the new kinds of technology popping up, creating effective material is becoming easier and easier. Nowadays you don’t even need to know how to do graphic design or write code thanks to today modern authoring tools.

A rather large challenge companies and organisations face today is finding the right tools to put their best ideas into efficient motion. In most cases the simplest solutions are right under their noses.

If you want to try it out, you can start by our authoring tool’s trial version VTS Editor and contact us if you plan on implementing gamification in your trianing programs!