In this current blog series we share research based tips on how to get the most out of virtual learning so people can memorize and apply new skills.  Critical, is the installation of new brain PARTS. Quite literally. Let’s look at the S in PARTS:  Sustain new learning. We will be talking about three ways to help learning stick: Socialize it, See it and Structure it. Here we cover the first:

Socialize it

The more we interact with what we are learning, the more brain circuitry we develop related to new knowledge, and the easier it is to recall and use it. Think back to the first time you had to speak on a particular topic. You likely spent hours preparing and memorizing information and needed support materials to help you remember in the moment. The more we do this however, the easier it becomes. Sharing and talking about what we are learning with others helps us embed and remember it.

So how can we do this in today’s increasingly digital world? With COVID-19 accelerating the increase in individual online learning programs, we’ve lost some of the classroom and office interactions to help us process, hardwire and memorize new knowledge. There is less pressure to show up for an online class. We can multi-task in front of our screen and nobody sees. There may be no ‘real’ instructor asking questions. And there may be no-one to compare notes with or practice new skills.   Some easy ways to socialize new learning, to increase knowledge retention and recall include:

  • Create a study group: Ask a few of your-coworkers to join a weekly call and each share what you are learning, and how you are applying it.
  • Create a goal for your learning and share it with your manager, significant other and/or peers. Ask someone to check in regularly with you on your progress.
  • Share your key insights, after you’ve completed a learning module, in casual conversations, or over dinner at the end of a day.
  • Share your learning and training commitments with the rest of your team to increase your accountability keep learning more.

These simple activities will not only help you sustain and memorize new information, you’ll also feel more motivated to keep learning, because our brains are wired to be keep us in high regard in the eyes of our peers, managers and loved ones.

In the next two blogs we’ll look at two other ways to sustain new learning – to see and to create structure.