5 Ways to Help Attendees Retain Event Learning – Solutions & Science

Posted on: August 9th, 2017

The learning curve is steep, not only on the way up, but on the back-end as well – learning experts call this “The Forgetting Curve”. As event and learning professionals, it may make you uncomfortable to hear that only 20% of the knowledge presented at events will be retained.

Solution: There are strategies that nearly any organization hosting events can implement immediately and cost-effectively to promote continuous learning. Recommended tools: Any Event App and a content partner.

Ways to avoid this…

1. Priming Exams are tests given to a learner prior to a learning event. This calls the learner to access their subconscious, working or long term memory on a topic. It gets learners examining what they know and don’t know and they increase interest level pre-event. Research shows that a graded exam or giving feedback is no more effective than just asking the learner to take the Priming Exam. These can be pushed via email or through your event app. Maybe even incentivize attendees to take the priming exam by offering a prize. Test throughout your event and use additional continuous learning principles… now you can demonstrate learning and ROI to your attendee.

2. Another study shows that Test Enhanced Learning drastically increases long-term learning when compared to rereading or other studying methods. So this means testing or polling your audience throughout your event will make them retain information. If you don’t have an event app to push these tests to, try an in-event solution like Poll Everywhere.

3. Information overload is a real thing. Think about it … often learners are trained on a topic and then they won’t need to use that learned skill for months after the training. Most organizations know this, but don’t have the resources to provide just-in-time learning on every topic. One solution is Spacing. We recommend introducing a topic at a high level, allow time to pass and then present the same material or elaborate on material over time. We recommend video-reminders in a compressed format small enough to be emailed, pushed to social media, or even push it to your event app. Video, and especially storytelling, are very effective for retention.

4. Gamification of learning at events creates a FUN, competitive and engaging environment. This can be done at your event through in-event app challenges, Augmented Reality or post-event through your event app.

5. Social Learning, Coaching and Mentoring are all great ways to promote continuous learning and can be done very cost effectively or free. Group learners together to promote social learning. Have them participate in certain activities together, compete in event gamification together and recommend they touch base with each other post-event. Alternatively, assign a coach or mentor to all or even just specific target attendees. According to Successful Meetings & MPI, the top two attendance drivers for conferences are education (92%) and networking/social interaction (76%), so attendees want to learn, and do it socially. Now just be the agent to help them make it happen!

If you found this article useful, please also check out PA/DE/NJ Distance Learning Association. This association hosts events in the aforementioned geographic area focused exclusively on the science behind learning and technologies that promote distance learning & collaboration.

To discuss these or other ways to enhance your organization’s education and learning initiatives please contact Julie Renninger.

Article written by Julie Renninger, Director of Sales at IMS.