By "Sponge", I mean "Someone who absorbs everything they hear and learns it".
I spent all day yesterday doing training for a client. It got me thinking when I attend training, there is usually an investment made for me to be able to attend it and I want to learn and remember everything I possibly can to get my/my employer's money out of it. I'm not in high school anymore and my habits of learning have changed, so I thought I'd share a few of my tips for maximizing retention.
1) Cell Phone Off. This should be a no brainer. Classroom time is sacrosanct and should not be interrupted by anything.
2) Sit in front. Sitting close to the presenter means that I can hear everything AND my "better be polite and pay attention" behavior is reinforced.
3) Take notes. Preferably written ones. A laptop brings too many distractions to a training class. Old school is good school.
4) Ask questions often. Don't get left in the dust, ask questions every time you don't understand. OR, if you feel ahead of the game, ask questions about more complex scenarios. Keep your head in the game and engage with the classroom conversation.
5) Within 24 hours, practice! There is a reinforcement window, that if you reinforce the training within 24 hours, retention is dramatically increased. This means, after the class is over, you're not done. Recharge your batteries, go back to your room, and spend an hour reviewing what you learned that day. I have 3 ways of doing this:
- Read/re-write my notes. I read my notes, and often transcribe them into a Google Document. Transcription helps me sort out what's good and what's not and re-process everything I wrote down.
- USE the application. If it's an application based training, I try to access the application and review exercises from the day on my own. Getting stuck sometimes is the best way to know what questions to ask.
- Google it. I like to know what other people are doing/saying about what I was trained on. Sometimes alternative sources give great insight and reinforcement to what I learned.
Whatever you are able to do, do it. It'll double or triple your ability to remember what you learned.
I know some of these are basic and very "classic", but learning how to learn and applying good habits during training will help you, your employer, and your career long term.
Do you have any training retention tips? Please comment below to share them!