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In our educational system, the predominant teaching methods still revolve around delivering lectures and assigning independent reading to students. However, research indicates that our attention span typically lasts only 5-10 seconds on average. It's hardly surprising then that the effectiveness of the learning process often falls short.

The information learners receive through traditional teaching methods tends to be quickly forgotten because it isn't effectively absorbed. Learners should not only get but also retain knowledge for it to truly stick. The most effective approach to retaining information in students' minds is to actively engage their brains with the material.

How can you streamline your workout routine to better align with how the brain naturally works? And, what are some strategies for transitioning information from short-term to long-term memory, ultimately enhancing the productivity of your employees?

Employing effective knowledge retention strategies can shed light on these inquiries. So let’s delve into this topic.

Learning Retention Definition

Knowledge Retention is the ability to remember and recall information over time. It involves storing newly acquired knowledge in the brain for future use.

Research indicates that the effectiveness of different teaching methods, or their efficiency in facilitating learning, can be categorized as follows:

  • The lecture allows you to retain 5% of the received information.
  • Independent reading gives 10%. 
  • Audiovisual methods using visual aids and various technical means – 20%. 
  • Step-by-step demonstration – 30%. 
  • Group discussion – 50%. 
  • Practiced by doing – 75%. 
  • Training others – 90%.
Retention Knowledge Learning Pyramid

Hence, genuine knowledge acquisition occurs primarily through active engagement with the material being studied. Most people can recall instances from their own experiences that validate this distribution.

💡Example: you won’t master the skill of driving through desk study or reading driving manuals. It’s possible only by actually getting behind the wheel and grasping the fundamentals of driving.

The Importance of Knowledge Retention

Knowledge retention is an important component of any learning experience, and it is hard to overstate it. Why? Information retention lays a foundation upon which personal and professional growth is built. 

Retaining information is not only beneficial to the individual but also has a positive impact on the organization as a whole. Let’s explore knowledge retention signifcance in detail and see how it can be maximized.

▪️Retention of information helps in decision-making

The ability to store and recall information is vital to decision-making. When a person has a deep understanding of a subject, they can make informed decisions based on the knowledge they have retained. For example, an engineer who has retained technical knowledge can quickly identify the cause of a problem and find a solution.

▪️Retained knowledge leads to increased productivity

Employees who retain knowledge are more productive. When a person has a clear understanding of his job and the goals of the organization, he can work more effectively. This results in increased productivity, which is beneficial for the organization.

▪️Info retention is cost-effective

When employees retain information, they require less training, saving the organization time and money. Additionally, knowledge retention reduces the likelihood of errors, which can be costly for the organization.

▪️Knowledge retention leads to innovation

When employees retain knowledge, they can identify issues and come up with innovative solutions. For example, a software developer who has retained knowledge of programming languages can come up with innovative ways to solve problems.

8 Ways How to Improve Learning Retention

We have access to a plethora of strategies aimed at bolstering knowledge retention and enhancing learning effectiveness. These techniques are versatile, catering to various learning styles, and can be utilized by students, professionals, and lifelong learners alike. 

Below, we delve into 8 knowledge retention strategies that you can implement to elevate learning capabilities.

#1. Spaced learning

Spaced learning is learning distributed over time, which allows you to absorb and comprehend information in portions. This type of learning is based on the Spatial Memory Effect — one of the principles of retention in education. 

The spatial memory effect explains the phenomenon that learning is more effective if the learning process is spread out over time rather than in a single session.

In corporate training, this phenomenon demonstrates that a 5-hour training session is less effective than consistently studying over an extended period.

How can we utilize the principles of the Ebbinghaus spatial memory effect in our corporate learning programs?

💡Tip: Implement a routine of 25-minute training sessions followed by 5-minute breaks to systematically deliver information to the brain, leading to better absorption and retention.

#2. Microlearning

Microlearning is one of the effective ways of learning for retention that consists of short, focused courses or lessons less than 5 minutes long, designed to quickly achieve curriculum goals. 

By decreasing cognitive load, it aims to better learning retention and absorption of information.

Previously mentioned G. Ebbinghaus also uncovered that within a day, individuals tend to forget half of what they've learned, and within a month, about 90%! This phenomenon is dubbed the "Ebbinghaus curve" or "forgetting curve."

Combating The Forgetting Curve

Ebbinghaus also found that repeated exposure to information leads to better retention. Microlearning offers students the chance to reflect on and assess the information they receive.

💡Tip: Implementing microcourses in your organization’s learning process ensures solid consolidation of information, making microlearning resistant to the "forgetting curve."

#3. Collaborative learning

Collaborative learning is a productive way for small groups of employees to work together to achieve a common goal. It refers to the process in which individuals learn from and with each other, drawing on each other's knowledge and skills to achieve a common understanding of the subject.

Collaborative learning fosters deeper understanding and training retention by encouraging active participation and discussion among peers

Through sharing ideas and perspectives, learners reinforce their understanding of concepts and retain information more effectively. This approach not only enhances retention but also promotes critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

💡Tip: Implement regular group discussions or team projects where employees can collectively engage with new information and share insights, you can enhance retention of skills and foster a collaborative learning culture within the organization.

#4. Engaging interactive learning

The Chinese philosopher Confucius succinctly captures the essence of the learning journey with his famous quote: “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I will remember, let me do it and I will understand.”  

Here, interactive learning embodies the crucial "do" component, emphasizing hands-on engagement for deeper comprehension.

Interactive learning is a modern approach to education that focuses on the active participation of the employee in the learning process. Unlike traditional methods, where the main emphasis is on the transfer of information from teacher to student, it encourages individual involvement, independence, and critical thinking.

The most important advantage of interactive learning is the high involvement of students and, as a result, a high level of retaining knowledge. Employees cannot do other things at the same time, because they constantly need to answer questions, share their opinions, put new tools into practice, and so on.

💡Tip: Maximum immersion occurs when interactive learning takes place in the form of a game or simulation of a real situation.

#5. Teach others

The concept of "Learning by Teaching" emerges as a methodology pioneered by Dr. Jean-Pol Martin, a professor at the University of Eichstätt. It emphasizes empowering employees to learn via disseminating knowledge among their peers. This method positions the instructor as a facilitator who guides the learning activities of participants.

This strategy significantly impacts knowledge retention by requiring individuals to comprehend information deeply enough to effectively communicate it to others. The process reinforces understanding and retention as individuals engage in active recall and explanation of different concepts.

💡Tip: Encourage employees to participate in knowledge-sharing sessions or workshops where they teach colleagues about topics they've recently learned. For example, you can implement the Jigsaw Method. It will foster a culture of collaborative learning and improve overall knowledge retention within the organization.

#6. Real-world practice

The concept of learning through action underscores that active participation enhances learning outcomes.

For instance, if you're looking to master a new software tool, rather than solely observing tutorials, actively engaging with the software in a real-world scenario fosters a deeper understanding and proficiency.

Since this approach requires active engagement from employees, it safeguards against a decline in productivity. This is particularly crucial as traditional learning methods often rely on the passive consumption of lectures, books, or articles, leaving students with varying degrees of comprehension.

When individuals’ task is to actively participate in their learning process, they tend to retain information more effectively. Each hands-on activity offers a personalized learning journey, fostering intrinsic motivation by demonstrating the relevance and significance of the material.

💡Tip: This experiential approach guides employees through a cycle of continuous effort, trial and error, reflective analysis, and refinement of strategies, facilitating deeper understanding and skill development.

#7. Video learning

Viewers retain a remarkable 95% of a video's message, far surpassing the mere 10% learning retention rate of text-based content. Videos serve as one of the most effective ways of learning for retention engaging medium, effortlessly captivating and maintaining users' interest throughout. 

A skillfully crafted video has the power to forge a deep connection with viewers, eliciting emotional responses and leaving a lasting impression. Even in eLearning, incorporating visuals can enhance memorability and resonate with the audience, effectively and concisely conveying information.

💡Tip: Given that nearly 90% of the information processed by our brains is visual, it's evident that employees will perceive and absorb video content more effectively than text alone.

#8. Mixed learning formats

By incorporating a blend of textual, visual, auditory, and interactive elements, mixed learning caters to various learning styles, ensuring greater comprehension and retention.

Furthermore, the dynamic nature of mixed learning keeps learners actively involved, preventing monotony and promoting sustained engagement with the material.

💡Tip: Incorporate a combination of live workshops, online modules, interactive simulations, and group discussions into your training curriculum to create a dynamic mixed-learning environment that caters to different learning styles and enhances retention of learning among employees.


Effective retention of knowledge is paramount in fostering continuous growth and development within both educational and corporate settings. By embracing these 8 knowledge retention strategies, mentioned above, organizations can create dynamic learning environments that cater to diverse learning styles and maximize retention.

Utilizing quality Learning Management System software is essential for seamlessly integrating these strategies into your corporate training initiatives. That's why we've compiled a comprehensive review of 5 top-notch corporate LMSs, designed to elevate information retention and actively engage employees in the learning journey.

Let your employees enjoy the learning process 😉!

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