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Improving learning retention after eLearning training

To protect the health and safety of people in the workplace, everyone must be familiar with how to keep themselves and others safe. Annual training on various subjects can help organisations achieve compliance and educate staff on protecting themselves and others. 

But if your staff only take, for example, an ergonomics course once a year, it is easy for them to forget the information learned as the year passes. German psychologist, Hermann Ebbinghaus, carried out numerous memory studies and found that people quickly forget what they’ve learned shortly after learning it. He suggested that we forget about 50% of learnings after the first hour and around 90% of things we’ve learned after a month. This is because people will forget what they don’t use – ‘Use it or lose it’.

So for training programmes to be successful, we can’t look at training as a one-off, box-ticking exercise. Information needs to be refreshed and reinforced regularly to achieve long-term learning and create behavioural change across the organisation.

However, due to busy work schedules and other time commitments, it might not always be feasible to enrol employees on the same 60-minute training course once a month. So what are some ways you can help employees maintain their knowledge of these topics, while also saving your organisation time and money? 

1. Review learnings and provide support

After your employees have completed their online training course, it is important to find opportunities to review and reinforce the material, as well as offer support to those who may have questions. For example, you could:

  • Host training debriefing sessions to recap the key information in the course and brainstorm with colleagues how to apply what they learned on the job.
  • Provide a space where employees can look back on the material or key points, for example, on the organisation’s intranet or LMS.
  • Send out emails or newsletters reminding everyone of the important information learned.
  • Host short, informal quizzes during team meetings.
  • Use forums where staff can ask questions about the course material, and encourage colleagues and managers to actively participate in forum discussions.
  • Carry out informal coaching sessions to provide feedback and answer questions.

2. Create opportunities for people to apply learnings

Provide opportunities and encourage employees to apply their new knowledge and/or skills. For example, after your employees learn about creating inclusive meetings in the Diversity and Inclusion course, set rules to promote inclusion in your team meetings, such as no interrupting, or allowing everyone a chance to speak. Ensure that all of your employees are reminded of these rules and are applying them in each meeting. Or, for example, after your team has taken a Risk Assessment course, carry out risk assessments in your workplace. This way, your employees will be able to practise identifying hazards, assessing the risks and implementing appropriate control measures specific to your organisation.

Practising newly acquired information and skills to solve real work-related problems helps people better retain information. But it can also engage your staff and create behavioural change where their newly-acquired knowledge and skills are applied on the job.

3. Enrol staff in bite-sized, refresher courses

Enrol your employees in short refresher courses that contain the most, critical, need-to-know information from the full-length course. This will help employees improve their recall in an easy, time-saving way while also allowing the organisation to record training completions and test scores.

EssentialSkillz has created 7 new refresher courses for the most popular course titles in the library, and are about 10 minutes in duration. Currently, this refresher pack contains:

  • Fire Safety
  • ErgoWize (DSE)
  • Slips, Trips and Falls
  • Electrical Safety
  • Manual Handling
  • Risk Assessment
  • Hazardous Substances

EssentialSkillz will be continuing to update this refresher pack over the next year. But with our easy-to-use authoring tool, WorkWize Author, you can quickly create your own bite-sized refresher courses to help meet your organisation’s needs and requirements.


Don’t let your training efforts go to waste. You can promote long-term learning and behavioural change after online training by providing support and opportunities for employees to practise and apply what they learned. But it is also important to regularly refresh the key learning points through informal methods and bite-sized refresher courses.