Communicate on the Same Wavelength



How long do you remember knowledge from training?

It only takes a week for us to forget 90% of what we just learned


What is memorization?

Continuously improving the professional competence of the workforce is a prerequisite for maintaining the company’s competitive edge. It makes it easier for employees to adapt to market changes and helps to achieve high financial results.


Organizations that rely on continuous talent education (so-called lifelong learning) have engaged and productive teams (McKinsey 2020). Therefore, absorbing and remembering information quickly is a skill we should develop among employees.


Memorization is the ability to register and reproduce a set of messages, connections, or sensory impressions (A. Mosiolek, J. Gierus 2016). It is a process that can be both unintentional and intentional.


We deal with unintentional memorization when we acquire new information spontaneously, for example, as a result of communication with others or as a result of inferences arising from observation of a particular phenomenon.


On the other hand, intentional memorization plays an important role – the desire to retain in memory the content of a lecture, how to perform some task, or how to operate a complex computer program.


Why do we forget?


Forgetting is a common problem. Trouble with memory reveals itself not only when learning specialized skills, but also in everyday life.


Changes in cognitive structures, leading to forgetfulness, can already be observed among 30- to 40-year-old employees – they are associated with the natural aging process. Regardless of age, they are also observed in people suffering from depression or hypothyroidism (Fleck 2015).


Memory persistence also depends on the individual characteristics of the learner – for example, the ability to concentrate – and physiological factors like the level of stress experienced or the quality of sleep. How a learner perceives an issue – whether he or she sees it as interesting or particularly difficult (Mindtools) – is also not insignificant.


How long do we remember knowledge from training?


It only takes a few hours after the end of training for the assimilated material to begin to fade from memory. Professor Art Kohn has shown that 50% of new content is forgotten within an hour, and during the next 24 hours the loss is already 70%. Meanwhile, after a week, we don’t remember about 90% of what we learned.

In the 19th century, German psychologist Hermann Ebbingaus came to similar conclusions, pointing out that the rate of forgetting decreases with the passage of time. This means that most issues are forgotten immediately after learning.


What can be done to remember as much as possible from training?


Memorization is a skill that is necessary for survival. It is in memory that we store information about who we are or how to communicate with others. We also accumulate clues in it so that we can avoid physical or mental pain.


This evolutionary ability of the brain makes it easiest to remember experiences that evoke intense feelings, such as relief or fear. This is why professional trainers use the knowledge of neuroscience (MIndtools) in their lectures and seminars.


It has also been shown that feeling negative emotions such as fear of evaluation or failure can turn off neuronal pathways responsible for the learning process (Kwiatkowski). This suggests that the first step to acquiring new competencies should be careful research of educational offerings and the selection of a lecturer who knows how to motivate trainees without subjecting them to unnecessary stress.


Regardless of the circumstances indicated above, the key factor in determining whether new information will remain in memory is repetition. Therefore, it is recommended that the first, short repetition session should be held immediately after learning, and the next one should be held as the feeling that the assimilated information begins to slip from memory. However, it is worth keeping in mind that at the beginning of any learning, reviewing and refreshing new information should take place every few days.


How to take care of development when memory deteriorates?


Ethnic and migratory changes taking place in modern societies mean that teams working in organizations should learn to communicate with people from different cultures and minority groups. 


This learning – sometimes requiring a redefinition of existing knowledge – involves assimilating new information about the differences that exist among employees.


However, the effects of any learning – in order not to be forgotten – should be consolidated and repeated. And precisely for this purpose it is worth reaching for an empatyzer, which – by analyzing individual personality, ethnic, cultural differences – will consolidate our knowledge about a specific employee. 


This will not only contribute to a greater awareness of the cultural diversity that exists in the organization, but – most importantly – will influence good relations within the team.


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