I’ve always been a fan of learning how memory works. I’ve read many books on the topic and have even delivered presentations on how to use memory aids so that trainers and other safety professionals can deliver entire presentations from memory. I always use these techniques for my own presentations in case something goes wrong with the technology..and I lose my print out of my slides (you can never be too prepared) and I actually had to resort you my memory once. While these techniques are great for remembering things like this, they do not necessarily help trainees to remember more of what they learn in a training class. One of these techniques in particular, a mnemonic, can be useful but it is not learning by itself – it only provides a way to get previously learned information out of your head. An example of a mnemonic for the 7rs of making training stick can be send to the left.
So, what does this strange illustration have to do with safety training? I created this illustration to help me remember the 7 rs during arecent presentation on training retention. I didn’t want to have to read a slide with 7 key words. Especially in a class on retention, I should know them by heart right? Easier said then done when you are standing in front of a room full of people. I didn’t trust my memory so I created this illustration. Without even looking at this illustration, I can picture it in my head, and recite the 7rs. I can be out walking my dogs, picture the illustration, and think about the 7rs and even tell myself (in my head of course) all about each of the Rs. It’s a great way to practice.
So, what do you see in this illustration that relates to safety training? Let’s talk about the first thing you probably notice – the globe head.
The globe head represents Real World. One of the key Rs for safety trainers to consider if they want their training to be remembered is to make it relate to the real world as much as possible. Oe of the first things many safety trainers are told when they are just starting to deliver training, if they are ever told anything, is to answer the trainees’ question of WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) Real world means that the training is realistic and applies to their actual job and work environment. Real world means they will see how it applies to them. For example, you don’t want to show a training video of a large warehouse operation to a group of trainees who only work on construction sites. If a trainee can see how what you are telling them is directly applicable to them, their brain is not going to make the effort to put the training information into long term memory, and shortly after the training class is over, they will not remember the key information.
Whenever you can use photos or videos of the actual workplace and their co-workers (not actors), you will not only get the trainees’ attention faster and keep it, they will remember it longer because they can see how it directly applies to their job.
When creating or reviewing training you are about to deliver, think about this first R, Is your training realistic? Does it reflect the reality that your trainees face everyday? If not, how can you make it more real-world? Even adding this first R into your training materials will make it better. Think about what you can do today.
(Tomorrow, you’ll hear about another R. Can you guess what that might be based on the above image?)