Ways to Keep Learners from Forgetting Your eLearning

  • Posted on March 25, 2015   Shazia Wajid

    Have you ever created what you thought was a really great course only to find that people who had taken the course were a bit fuzzy on the details a week later? Here are few guidelines that can help you create elearning courses that are “hard to forget.”

    The golden rule of spacing

    On longer courses, most learners do not complete their training at one go. Days may pass between one session and the next in their online training, increasing the possibility that the student has forgotten many of the things that were previously taught. Applying spacing techniques to your online courses can help inhibit forgetfulness and keep things fresh.

    • When writing course content, divide lengthy topics into smaller chunks of information to optimize students’ working memory.
    • Spread information evenly with acceptable intervals giving ample time to the students to absorb it completely.
    • Re-stimulate learner attention over time by using a variety of media to present and refresh content such as videos, scenarios, activities, games, and stimulating practice exercises.

    These methods will help keep things fresh in the learner’s mind as they proceed in the course.

    Repetition is the key to learning

    We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. — Aristotle

    Back in old days, repetition was commonly used in learning. When learning activities primarily consist of repetition, it can feel tedious. Balance is the key. We can use repetition methods tactfully and stealthily in our online training to ensure maximum retention and recall. Every online course has few important points that serve as the backbone of the subject matter and it is a good idea repeat that information to keep things fresh in learner’s mind. One great way to do this is by presenting reinforcing points interactively to learners so that they are involved and focused and remember it for a longer period of time. Use visuals such as flowcharts and diagrams, and activity templates such as drag-and-drop activities and scenarios in your online training to refresh key points and reinforce them in a way that makes them increasingly unlikely to be forgotten. Things naturally “stick” and get classified as “important to remember” when we encounter them with sufficient frequency.

    If you suspect the needed frequency will vary greatly among your students, consider a re-playable game or activity that puts the control in the learner’s hands. Our Learning Content Management System (LCMS) Flash Card activity template can be very handy in this as it helps in targeted learning of the content that is either not mastered or forgotten by the student. Students can work in learn or test mode. In test mode, a pie graph shows the student their progress in cards learned, almost learned, and still unknown. There are also other built-in activity and game templates in LCMS that can provide quick and easy-to-build interesting repetition of the subject matter, thus maximizing learning. Our games all pull from banks of questions, so they can be played multiple times to practice content. Check them out and see which activity and game templates would work best for your online training!

    The isolation strategy

    As per the Von Restorff Effect (also known as “Isolation Effect”), people pay more attention to unusual things and hence, remember it for a longer time period. Following isolation strategy in your elearning course can be a good idea to keep learners from forgetting your online training. Bring elements of surprise and unexpected outcomes in your elearning to apply the Von Restorff Effect. Surprise learners with unexpected story plots (elearning scenarios), fascinate them with interesting images and engage them with refreshing audio and video pieces. Experiment different font styles to emphasize important points.

    Frequent assessments

    While students typically don’t like tests, there is no doubt that tests can be a strong motivation factor that helps focus student attention and make them take subject matter seriously. Having frequent quizzes or tests in an online course can allow instructors to reinforce important points easily and inform and guide students regarding their performance, both at the same time. Studies show that frequent quick low-stake assessment activities can reduce overall study time and improve scores on final exams. Sprinkle practice assessments and low-stake light quizzes in your online training to help students recall the earlier information along with supporting feedback to clear ambiguity.


    As elearning course developers, we have a responsibility to create useful and effective elearning courses that add to the learner’s long-term knowledge and meet their desired training goals. Create an elearning course worth remembering by leveraging and maximizing the smart technology and rich features of your authoring tool  to develop smart, admirable, and memorable elearning courses.

    Not yet a member of our authoring program? Sign up today for freemium tools and some of the best sales channels in the market for workforce training!

    Get paid by creating an online course

    1. Brenda Armstrong says:

      What a great article!

      April 15, 2015 at 12:01 am - Reply
      • Shazia Wajid
        Shazia Wajid says:

        Thanks for your appreciation. Come back soon!

        April 15, 2015 at 7:08 am - Reply
    2. Snehal says:

      Very useful article that touches one of the crucial aspects of developing an eLearning course! I believe that simplifying content by dividing it into small logical chunks and presenting it in a user-friendly and stimulating manner would help keep learners from forgetting eLearning. Maintaining consistency in designing and delivering the instructions and reinforcing important points in innovative ways at regular intervals are also a key. Interactions and exercises such as Flash Cards, Interactive Video, Scenario Exercise, Rapid Check and Drag & Drop go a long way in reinforcing the knowledge gained.

      July 23, 2015 at 12:17 pm - Reply
    3. Shazia Wajid
      Shazia Wajid says:

      Yes, you are right Snehal. And, thank you for your appreciation. Come back soon!

      July 23, 2015 at 12:54 pm - Reply
    4. francesco mammana says:

      yes, I couldn’t agree more. Balancing is the key. Repeating the most significant contents. Using new tools and old strategies.Offering students enough time to learn contents and develop abilities.

      July 15, 2016 at 10:28 am - Reply
      • Shazia Wajid
        Shazia Wajid says:

        Thank you for your feedback Francesco 🙂

        August 16, 2016 at 10:51 am - Reply
    Leave a Response