The One Percent Training Problem. What Kind of Training Can You Do in Five Minutes a Day?

One percent? I’ve seen this number floating around in blogs and articles recently. It’s purported to be the amount of time the average employee has for learning during a typical work week. Is it true? Like lots of so-called “data” in our field I have my doubts. Where does that number come from? I suspect someone did an unscientific “survey” and then others just picked it up. And even if it is accurate I doubt that it is universal in any sense. Some jobs require a lot more ongoing learning than others. And even within a job the new employee will probably dedicate a lot more of his/her time to learning than the seasoned employee. And even for seasoned employees time commitments for learning are probably uneven. So, for example, if you are a life science sales rep and your company is launching a new product then there will likely be a lot of training around the product launch.

But, just for argument’s sake, let’s accept that 1% number. What does that translate into? If we take the average work week to be 40-50 hours then this translates into 2,400-3,000 work minutes per week, implying 24-30 minutes of learning per week, or 5-6 minutes per work day.

What can an employee learn in 5-6 minutes per day? It turns out that with a well-designed continuous learning strategy quite a bit. You can:

  • Use adaptive questioning for review and reinforcement
  • Have your learners participate in a gamified contest
  • Send out a short video
  • Deliver a podcast
  • Communicate via a short employee newsletter
  • Deliver a short confidence-based assessment
  • Do a quick knowledge-check, with remediation

These continuous learning activities reinforce what has already been learned, help you solve the forgetting problem, and enhance pull-through. And, you can even introduce some new bite-sized content in videos and podcasts at the same time.

We are all busy, but five minutes a day to reinforce prior learning and introduce some new learning is time we can all afford to invest.

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