At the end of 2015, Training Industry, Inc. CEO Doug Harward predicted a paradigm shift to the design and delivery of training. As training managers focus increasingly on neuroscience and the application of science to learning, he said, we will be better able “to understand which technologies and techniques deliver higher retention and application.” Additionally, learning leaders are seeking better ways to combat the forgetting curve by using ongoing training to “boost” learning.

BizLibrary’s acquisition of AKLearning supports these trends. Under the terms of this deal, which was finalized in late 2015, BizLibrary’s content library is gaining hundreds of interactive video lessons as well as AKLearning’s BoosterLearn training reinforcement platform, which applies scientific principles to employee training by helping learners retain and apply what they learn.

The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve is named for Hermann Ebbinghaus, a nineteenth-century psychologist. He studied his own memory and discovered that he exponentially forgot information immediately after learning it – losing 70 percent of new information within 24 hours and 90 percent within a week. Subsequent studies revealed that the forgetting curve is consistent among individuals.

This forgetting curve is an obvious problem for training managers, who want their learners to retain as much new knowledge and skills as possible. In fact, according to AKLearning founder Dr. Art Kohn, organizations spend about $60 billion per year on training but almost nothing on reinforcement, meaning more than $50 billion is wasted if reinforcement doesn’t happen within a week of training.

The good news is that there are ways to fight this loss, and as our understanding of neuroscience improves, our techniques and technologies will get better at increasing retention.

For example, Kohn developed BoosterLearn, AKLearning’s training reinforcement platform, based on three principles regarding memory: (1) Memory is biological, (2) Forgetting is adaptive, and (3) Use it or lose it. Essentially, in order for your learners to retain what they learn, they must have the opportunity to use the new material immediately after training and then periodically afterward. It helps if the reinforcement is done in a multimedia format, since that content will be reinforced in multiple areas of the brain.

Learners who use BoosterLearn receive “daily boosts” (seven to ten per training) that remind them in various ways of what they learned. Boosts might be short quizzes, polls, links to resources and videos, or social learning discussion forums. They are pushed to learners on their computer or mobile device and encourage engagement both with the material and with their colleagues. Incorporating these boosts into a daily routine reinforces learning and improves performance by making learning a continual activity. Furthermore, the microlearning format can help make sure learners’ brains aren’t overwhelmed by reviewing too much content in one burst.

Forgetting is adaptive. Our brains, while incredible vehicles for storing and analyzing data, are limited. In order not to overwhelm them, we must forget large amounts of information. The key, then, is making sure our brains retain what we want them to and discard only what is unnecessary.

To help us in this determination, our brains look at timing: “If the information has been recently retrieved or used,” Kohn says, “then it is probably important.” Therefore, the brain keeps it.

Learning managers must capitalize on this knowledge of how the brain works to ensure learners retain what they need to do their jobs successfully. By developing an accessible library of content and providing simple ways to reinforce new skills, BizLibrary’s acquisition of AKLearning is an example of an investment in the science of learning and memory.