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Most skills training is a waste of time

Most skills training is a waste of time. I say that because it is. I also say that because most organisations fail to understand or implement the key aspect of any skills development, which is the follow-up.

How many of us have allowed our companies to spend thousands of pounds encouraging us to develop a new skill, only for us to go back to the office and behave just as we did before the course? How many children learn a concept or fact on a Monday only to have forgotten it by Friday?

In the late 1880s a prominent psychologist, Hermann Ebbinghaus, created the ‘forgetting curve’ which is still used extensively today. Ebbinghaus concluded that students forget 56% of what they learn within one hour, 66% within one day and 75% within six days. Fast forward 137 years and in June 2017, neurobiologists explained in the journal ‘Neuron’ that without employing strategies to retain knowledge, the brain is ‘wired to forget’ from an evolutionary standpoint. All very worrying if you’re a parent relying on other people to help your children learn and retain ideas and concepts.

What can you do as a parent to help?

Well, the first thing you can do is ask whether your school has a strategy for handling the ‘forgetting curve’. There are ways that teachers and parents can help children boost learning retention for children (and themselves). Stress undermines memory retention so informal quizzes really help. Visual and verbal aids and encouraging children to develop memory cues will make a huge difference. We all remember the colours of the rainbow, don’t we? Group discussions are a very good way of retaining information because when students see their fellow classmates, that visual will spark memories of what was said. Finally, lots of research shows that information circulates in the mind during sleep, so make revision the last thing your child does before bedtime and it will really help.

As a company specialising in Life Skills Courses for children, these issues really matter to us. Understanding the ‘forgetting curve’ has really helped us develop strategies and follow-up to our courses to make sure that the new skills we give them are firmly embedded long after the course has finished. Thank you, Mr Ebbinghaus.

If you’d like to find out more about our Life Skills Courses, then please click here

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