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Executive Education

64% of adults forget what they've learned by the next day

Every year companies spend over a hundred billion dollars on corporate education. This staggering sum is a clear illustration of just how seriously organizations take investing in their teams, but research shows that employees often find it difficult to remember what they've learned. In fact, the average adult forgets 64% of what he or she learns by the following day.

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Some companies are now adopting creative methods to make it easier for trainees to retain information and maximize the impact of training programs. These highly innovative approaches can range from games to comedy to DIY activities.


Creativity boosts memory retention

Nashville-based mobile tech company, Asurion, has implemented an escape-room-style training program that requires employees to troubleshoot and figure their way out of a space filled with interconnected digital devices. This instructional “game,” has to be completed within 45 minutes, and the aim is to make the training both hands-on and fun. And according to Vincent Phamvan, senior director of innovation, “it also instills a sense of patience, empathy and a team mentality, which is extremely important when providing technical support to consumers.”

Another company applying an innovative training tactic is Bluecore, an email-marketing platform. The New York based company uses improvisation comedy to foster teamwork and quick thinking. CEO Fayez Mohamood states that improvisation has helped him throughout his career in major ways. This is why he decided to make the comedy classes a standard requirement for all employees. He praises the art form for the way it strengthens communication, cultivates thinking on your feet and promotes collaboration.


Leveraging the talent of employees

Seattle based OfferUp, a peer-to-peer marketplace start-up that specializes in buying and selling locally, takes a DIY approach to training. Employees begin their first day by building their own desk and chair. “It maps back to the company’s ‘all hands on deck’ work culture,” says CEO and co-founder Nick Huzar. He goes on to laud the program’s side-benefits. “Usually what happens is that the rest of the team comes over, says ‘hi’ and offers to help. But it’s really about setting the tone and making it clear that everyone’s expected to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.”

What happens when an innovative training program leverages employee talent? Take Google’s “Creative Skills for Innovation” (CSI):Lab. The project allowed staff to use work time to pursue projects that interested them, while giving them hands-on experience. Frederik G. Pferdt, Google’s global program manager for innovation and creativity, says he started CSI:Lab to demonstrate to workers how to “experience innovation.”

If companies want employees to remember what they have learned and see a tangible return on their investment, they have to make training programs as memorable as possible. Whether it’s through room escape, comedy, DIY construction, a hands-on lab, or other creative methodologies, innovative learning approaches are here to stay.