How a trainee learns establishes how the information is stored and retrieved. Reinforcement of learning through practice and feedback enhances knowledge retention and skills development. Technology plays an important role in innovative learning and developing skills. In current training classrooms, information on any subject can be researched and found immediately. Trainees have a variety of ways to access information in any place and at any time. So, how can we enhance the learning environment and influence outcomes within the Nuclear Industry? The answer is…incorporate instructional design and technology with Practice and Feedback.
When a learning objective is set, practicing skills to master the objective is critical. For example, if the objective is to be able to describe the function and operation of a level detector, the skill that must be mastered is the proper use of a level detector. If the object is to state the various failure modes of level detection instrumentation, the skill that is incorporated is critical thinking to determine the potential problem and then the appropriate action. Learning new skills, changes patterns in the brain and with enough repetition, “hardwires” the concept into the brain. This supports the brain acquiring information through the senses and that experience has a powerful effect on learning. A few of these strategies include:
- Retrieval Practice– involves retrieving previously learned information through self-quizzing and/or spot-quizzing instead of re-reading information or “cramming”. Retrieval practice assists in identifying strengths and areas for improvement. In addition, the practice of recalling information increases long-term memory retention.
- Spaced Repetition– requires retrieval practice and involves revisiting information over time. It is important to study what is currently being learned, but also to retrieve prior learning and make connections in content. Trainees should be briefed that while spaced practice might seem more challenging, the struggle through recall (desirable difficulty) strengthens both mastery and memory.
- Interleaving– mixes up various areas of content and problem solving, which improves the ability to determine effective methods for addressing problems or meeting challenges when presented in real-world settings.
When learning new things or practicing new skills, most trainees want feedback to understand how they are doing in the process. Facilitators play an important role in providing feedback, not only in offering reinforcement for proficiency but also with guidance through challenges and correcting inaccuracies in practice. Designing content for practice around goals provides checkpoints for feedback and encourages engagement. Facilitators should be sure to offer a variety of different types of feedback, and present opportunities to coach trainees through retrieval and application of skills. It is a good idea to gather feedback as well to understand the learning experience better and adjust instruction when necessary.
Instructional Design and Technology are just a click away
Accelerant Solutions has created training material utilizing the above-mentioned learning methods as well as other evidence-based strategies to increase knowledge retention and trainee engagement:
- PLANT is a highly advanced authoring tool that combines content innovation and scalability with the capacity to create training for virtual or blended learning environments. Adding integration with VISION and the electronic content configuration management takes PLANT to the next level, with an efficient tool that allows instructors and students to work and learn more effectively through an instructional strategy that is created with the Systematic Approach to Training (SAT) process.
- SOUL (Smart Open Universe of Learning) is a knowledge retention and transfer platform supported by a Moodle-based LMS, that seamlessly integrates a wide array of innovative content with socially collaborative learning.
- CORE is a cloud-hosted program designed with a dramatic shift in instructional strategy to replace traditional generic fundamentals training. Facilitation can occur in virtual or blended environments with lessons via computer-based training, providing a flexible solution that shifts the learning strategy. Hosted on the SOUL platform and authored using PLANT, the CORE program takes advantage of all aspects of these innovative tools.
The utilization of designing learning environments with the integration of technology contributes to an innovative and engaging experience. The addition of technology into the classroom enhances the trainee experience, contributes to higher-order thinking, reinforces content and encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills that can be easily recalled and applied. I encourage you to experiment with the above-mentioned strategies, and contact Accelerant Solutions to innovate your training programs!
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin