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Give a man* a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime… Chinese proverb.

I have spent a lot of time recently learning about learning retention.

At Scout Digital Training, our goal is not to run great short workshops, but to provide the information and resources to allow students to develop their skills, implement change and achieve results.

Learning is hard.

Especially when we have so much else to do!

In addition to our hands-on, practical training style (designed to help cement new skills) there are a number of other techniques we encourage to get the most out of learning, whatever the topic.

Four ways to improve learning retention

Take handwritten notes

Writing notes by hand has been proven to help learn and retain information better than typed notes.

A learning secret: Don’t take notes with a laptop

This is why we encourage students to take notes, highlight, stick post its etc and do whatever they need to their printed notes to further develop and take ownership of them.

Ask questions and discuss the topic

In the 70:20:10 learning and development model, the 20% component is social learning, including questions and discussion.

It’s essential to get over the fear of “asking a stupid question” as all questions and resulting discussion are opportunities to better understand and retain the new information. Source.

Our students’ only Facebook Group is another space to discuss and develop these new skills.

Try to explain or teach the topic to someone else

Along similar lines as social learning, having to try and explain or teach a new skill or pass on information to another is an invaluable way of testing and further developing your own understanding.

Use the new skills as soon as possible

Hermann Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve describes the brains decreased ability to retain memory over time. It theorises that we lose about 60% of the new information after the first few days of learning it.

To encourage retention, Ebbinghaus recommends reviewing (or discussing/explaining) the new information within the first 24 hours. Or ideally – as we recommend – putting the new skills into place ASAP in a real scenario to help them stick.


If you’re keen to develop some new skills, check out our upcoming workshops. Happy learning!


*or a woman!

Erica Stacey

Erica is a Google Analytics and Google Ads certified professional, so you’re in qualified hands. Erica has had over a decade of experience – working for agencies and a wide range of clients – in digital and social media marketing strategy, website development, search engine optimisation (SEO) and marketing (SEM), content marketing, inbound marketing, online advertising and so much more. A professional in the field of design, branding and marketing, she is a trusted name in the South Australian and online community to help an array of businesses sort out and achieve their marketing objectives.

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