By now most of us have bought into the idea that learning needs to be a process, not an event. Without a continuous learning process we get the dreaded post-learning event forgetting effect:
But, if we want our learners to be able to apply what they have learned one month, three months or six months later, when they are back on the job, we need a continuous learning strategy. If we continue the learning post-event, we can interrupt the forgetting process and — depending on how successful our post-event learning strategy is — we will see a series of possible post-event forgetting curves:
where the shallowest of these curves represents the most successful continuous learning strategy. There are a number of ways to do this, most of which involve using a microlearning system to reinforce the learning through spaced repetition and retrieval practice.
But there is another problem. In both of the above curves the vertical grey bar represents our certification/mastery exam. In 99% of cases this exam is given immediately post-event. That in and of itself is not bad, but it is not sufficient. How do we know which of these post-event paths our learners have followed? If they have forgotten a large part of what they have learned they will not be able to apply it on the job.
The solution is to add measurement goal posts:
It’s not wrong to measure immediately post-event, but you also need to measure 30, 60, 90 days or more out. Then you will know what your learners have retained (when it counts) and if your post-event continuous learning strategy has been successful.