One of the most important things for a trainer to do is make sure their students retain the information taught to them. There are many statistics floating around on training-related web sites that talk about the “formula” in which adults learn and how much information they can take in. Unfortunately, there are just as many rebuttals to those statistics. I really don’t think there is a magic formula to make someone more successful in online learning—we need to remember that each person is different.
As I’ve mentioned before, my team does the majority of their trainings online. So I went to the experts and asked them for tips on how to help students retain information taught in an online class.
Tips for Retaining Information:
- Annotation tools
Use the highlighter or pointer provided by your web conferencing software. This makes information stand out and much easier to remember. Plus, it helps students follow along.
- Full screen mode
Some web conference providers allow you to force attendees to view your content in full screen. This keeps participants engaged in the presentation and they are less likely to multi-task because what you are showing them takes up their entire monitor.
- File transfer
Use this web conferencing feature to allow students to download materials before, during or after an online training. It makes information readily available to the students, on their computers, when they need it. And there are no excuses—they can do it then and there.
- Take breaks
In a normal classroom setting, students need to decompress and absorb what they just learned. The same applies to online learning. Make sure you take plenty of breaks throughout the session.
- End each session with take-aways
Ask each participant to give you at least one thing that they learned from the session. In most of our classes, we end with an action plan. We ask students to jot down what they are going to start, stop and continue doing as a result of the class.
- Use the notes tools
Many web conferencing tools now have an area for students to take notes in. It reinforces what they’ve just heard and helps them to remember the information.
If you have tips that you’d like to share with us, please do so in the comments below. If you are sitting through online training sessions and wish there was something your instructors would do to make learning easier, please share that as well. Next week, I’ll give some tips on how to make online classes more interactive.
Nicole Scheel is the Director of Training, and the “Tips & Training Blogger”. Nicole has been in training with InterCall for nine years and currently manages our internal and customer training departments, also known as InterCall University. When she's not training someone, you can find Nicole volunteering in her community or finishing her Masters in Training & Development at Roosevelt University.