aLearning Blog

Online Learning for Trade Associations

Learners Forget

Posted by Ellen on January 11, 2009

Okay, I’ll confess up front I can’t find the article, but we’ve seen the data that discusses how much learners forget as soon as they walk out the door (or close the asynchronous course), and how much more they fail to retain over time.

So we help them plug the holes with Web 2.0 — or my new favorite reference to these online tools, Social Learning — so they can connect with each other for answers, update their personal learning environments by blogging or podcasting or capturing their new knowledge on their wikis, or saving the links to their social bookmarking sites…. right?

Of course.

Won’t they be able to do this on their own? Find the answers they need on the Web? After all, search functions are more powerful than ever… more info is available than ever….

Well, for some things, learners will need to Google for answers.

But consider this: “According to a study by Accenture, managers spend more than a quarter of their time searching for information, and half of what they find is of no value to them. IDC research shows that knowledge workers spend 15 percent to 30 percent of their time gathering information, but these searches are successful less than 50% of the time. Moreover, the sheer volume of information is overwhelming. The amount of new technical information is doubling every two years. Users need a way to parse this information and access what will best help them accomplish their mission.” (“On Demand: The Googlization of Learning,” by John Ambrose, Chief Learning Officer, January 2008).

Learning 2.0 in the association should be exactly this: the distillation of that mass of information, data, and resources so our members can quickly access what they need when they need it. This is, after all, what they look to us to do: help them sort out the issues, or provide the resources, or support the job. This is, after all, a benefit of membership. Or at least it should be.

Oh… and that bit of data I was looking for? “According to a report by the Research Institute of America, 33 minutes after completion of a live course, students retain only 58% of covered information. By the second day, only 33% is retained, and by 30, all but 13 percent of the information covered in the course is lost.” And guess where I finally found this quote?

Same magazine, same article, on a page I neglected to mark…. Talk about inefficient search functions! And proof positive of the very point I’m making.

How are you supporting your learners after they have completed an online course? Are you leveraging Social Learning or Learning 2.0? Why not?

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