What is Learning Reinforcement?

Remember when you returned to school after a long summer break and felt as if you’d forgotten everything? We’ve all been there. It comes down to the fundamental essence of how humans learn.

Why do we learn in the first place? Well, learning drives action, behavior change, and knowledge retention.

This requires more than reading a book or attending a lecture. These one-time learning experiences are great for introducing new ideas and concepts. However, knowledge only gets retained when it is put into action. That’s where learning reinforcement comes in.

Learning reinforcement involves spacing out lessons over time and encouraging learners to actively reflect on their takeaways.

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The Idea

Learning reinforcement is a method of learning that emphasizes deeper and longer-term engagement with the course material. As explained below, it can be broken down into two big concepts.

Spaced learning: When learning, one needs to recognize that it is not a one-time event. It requires a commitment to review the material, think it over, and regularly apply it to new situations. A great way to target this is through spaced learning. According to Harvard Magazine, spaced learning spread across 1-2 months “can increase knowledge by up to 50 percent, and strengthen retention for up to two years.”

Active reflection: In order to create meaningful change, learners should think about how they can put the course material into action. Asking them to interpret scenarios and answer questions is the best way to encourage reflection.

The Implementation

Building courses that support learning reinforcement is a tailored process. It is essential to think about how to make learners feel invested in the course. Consider trying some of these best practices.

  • Knowledge checks
  • Behavior checks
  • Additional content
  • Nudges to action
  • Troubleshooting action
  • Reflection exercises
  • Coaching

At Arist, we’ve built the first text message learning platform, and it was designed with learning reinforcement in mind. Our courses are easy to create and deploy across a variety of formats, enabling you to meet your learners wherever they are.

Check out Arist for more on how you can design courses that won’t be forgotten.