make training stick

The Science of Learning: How to Make Training Stick

Posted on May 7th, 2024 in Learning & Development.

For businesses that want to get ahead of their competitors, developing the skills and knowledge of their workforce is the key to success. This makes effective learning and training more crucial than ever. Whether it’s for academic purposes, professional development, or personal growth, understanding the science behind how we learn can transform ineffective delivery of training content into successful growth opportunities. This article delves into the latest research and provides practical strategies to enhance learning retention, ensuring that your training efforts are fruitful.

Understanding the Brain’s Role in Learning

Learning is fundamentally a biological process, involving changes within the brain that affect how we store and recall information. Neuroscience research highlights that successful learning strategies engage multiple parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus, which is vital for forming new memories, and the prefrontal cortex, which is essential for higher order thinking skills.

Key Learning Techniques:

Spaced Repetition: Spacing out learning sessions can enhance long-term retention of information. It allows the brain time to encode information into long-term memory before adding new information.

Active Recall: Testing oneself on the material learned rather than passive review (like re-reading notes) forces the brain to retrieve information and strengthens memory pathways.

Leveraging Technology in Learning

The integration of technology into educational settings enhances traditional learning methodologies through digital tools that support, augment, and in some cases, completely transform learning experiences. Interactive software, online resources, and multimedia presentations can provide dynamic and customisable learning environments that cater to the unique needs of individual learners.

Learning Tools to Consider:

Interactive Software: Engages learners with simulations and interactive tests that provide instant feedback, helping to solidify understanding.

Multimedia Presentations: Utilise videos, animations, and graphics to explain complex concepts in more digestible formats, catering to visual and auditory learning styles.

The Role of Emotional Engagement

Emotions play a significant role in how well we learn. Positive emotional connections with the learning material can boost understanding and retention. Training methods that connect learning to real-world scenarios or personal interests can lead to more effective memory retention.

Strategies for Engagement:

Storytelling: Incorporating storytelling into learning content can make the learning experience more relatable and emotionally engaging.

Gamification: Using game-design elements in non-game contexts can make learning more interactive and fun, thus increasing emotional and cognitive engagement.

Social Learning and Collaboration

Learning is often more effective when it’s a collaborative effort. Discussions, group projects, and peer teaching not only enhance understanding but also improve recall.

Collaborative Techniques:

Peer Discussions: Engage learners in training concepts to each other, which reinforces understanding through articulation.

Group Projects: Encourage collaborative problem-solving, which can help learners apply theoretical knowledge in practical scenarios.

Continuous Feedback and Adjustments

Effective training courses are dynamic, with adjustments made based on learner feedback and performance. Continuous assessment and feedback help learners identify areas for improvement and avoid the frustration that can come from unsolved difficulties.

Feedback Mechanisms:

Formative Assessments: Regular, low-stakes assessments that provide ongoing feedback to learners on their learning progress.

Adaptive Learning Technologies: These use algorithms to adjust the difficulty level of tasks based on the learner’s performance, providing personalised learning experiences.


The science of learning opens up new avenues for making training stick. By understanding and applying the principles of brain-based learning, leveraging technology, engaging emotionally, encouraging collaboration, and adapting based on feedback, educators and trainers can greatly enhance the efficacy of their programs. As we continue to discover more about how people learn, these strategies will evolve, offering even more effective ways to facilitate lifelong learning.

Incorporating the latest trends and insights from cognitive science and educational technology into your training programs can make a significant difference in their effectiveness. By fostering environments that enhance learning retention, you ensure that your training efforts yield tangible and lasting benefits.