Training reinforcement is a relatively new concept, and because of that, we are often asked (or told) many different things that are not true. More often than not, reinforcement is confused with reminder services and that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Training reinforcement is the continuous reinforcement of course material post-training. Reinforcement programs are crafted using your learning objectives and expected behavior outcomes with the ultimate goal of increasing knowledge retention and changing learners’ behaviors.
Included below are 8 myths and misconceptions about training reinforcement that we’ve heard often over the last few years:
1. Reinforcement is the same as the Forgetting Curve
Reinforcement is not the Forgetting Curve. Although reinforcement is based on principles discovered by Ebbinghaus, the two concepts are very different.
2. Reinforcement takes a lot of my learners’ time
Far from the truth! A well-crafted reinforcement program will only take a few minutes to complete each week. The continuous learning and power of story lines help create lasting impact. Training reinforcement messages should be quick, meaningful, and based on your expected outcomes.
3. Reinforcement should start a few weeks/months after training
The best time to start your reinforcement program depends on your reinforcement objectives. Some training programs benefit from reinforcement prior, during, or post-training.
When creating a post-training reinforcement program, we suggest your learners start the reinforcement program immediately after they finish their training. After the first couple of days, retention rates begin to drop around 40%. After 30 days, retention rates are less than 20%.
A strong post-training reinforcement program will connect with the training and continue the process of learning well after training has ended.
4. eLearning is more effective because it’s focused and/or blended
eLearning is indeed a good learning method, but it’s not enough to reinforce training and drive lasting behavior change. Reinforcement is more than relearning and remembering new material.
5. Reinforcement is focuses on learning
Does reinforcement focus on learning? Yes, but it also focuses on the five common learning gaps, which we discussed here. All five learning gaps are important to learners grow and apply their new knowledge and skills.
6. Reinforcement messages should only be sent once a month
It’s not an effective strategy to only send one reinforcement message per month. Reinforcement relies on continuous learning to make improvements in knowledge retention and behavior change. Instead of sending one reinforcement message each month, limit the length of each message, requiring no more than 3 minutes per message, and send them weekly.
7. The morning is the best time to send reinforcement messages
Although the morning is a good time to send SOME reinforcement messages, timing really depends on the type of reinforcement message. Knowledge questions are usually sent during busier times of the day, with reflection questions sent during slower times.
Each reinforcement message has a certain value to the overall results. It’s important to pay attention to timing when creating a reinforcement program.
8. Reinforcement doesn't increase engagement
A good reinforcement program will deliver content at the right time to support behavior change. The use of scores, earnings, participant status, and reinforcement progress also help increase engagement.
For information on training reinforcement, download our eBook, The Science Behind Mindmarker.