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Axonify Brain Science Explained by Dr. Alice Kim

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Hi I’m Dr. Alice Kim, I’m a researcher at York University. My area of expertise is in human memory in the brain and my research is focused on how we can learn more effectively. Today I’d like to share three scientific discoveries that are essential to help employees remember key pieces of information so that they’ll be more likely to applied on the job. The first discovery is called the spacing effect and it refers to the finding that people remember information better over the long run when the learning takes place across multiple sessions that are distributed or spaced out as opposed to one long continuous session. Essentially this distributed review or repetition of information is the opposite of cramming which is a popular but ineffective study method. For example if you have 10 hours to prepare for an exam next week you’re better off spacing out those 10 hours throughout the entire week as opposed to cramming them all into the night before the exam and that’s because when we were view information ocean in a space out manner it helps reinforce the information in memory which house is over, something that scientist called the forgetting curve. The forgetting curve is based on the pioneering work of Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist and it basically shows us that the rated forgetting is exponential and nature and that most forgetting occurs relatively soon after the memory is formed. The second Discovery is called the testing effect and it corresponds to retrieval practice, the active retrieving information from memory, the testing effect refers to the finding that when we actively retrieve information from memory long-term retention of that information is enhanced going back to the example of preparing for an exam, in those 10 hours you have to prepare for an upcoming exam once you can recall the material from memory you’re better off quizzing yourself instead of engaging in more passive strategies like free reading and highlighting. The third Discovery stemming from confidence-based learning tells us that both knowledge and confidence in that knowledge are critical for people to act quickly confidently and reliably in any situation, in addition to providing an answer to a question confidence base learning requires learner to reflect on their answer by asking them to assess how confident they are in the accuracy of their response. This means that on top of assessing whether their answer is correct we can also measure how confident they are in their answer and why is that important? Past research suggests that while accuracy and confidence are both included as part of the assessment measure, there’s a higher correlation to the quality of employees later performance. Going a bit further, hunt and colleagues for example show that when individuals are confident or certain other answer they retained 91% of that particular piece of information one week later. In contrast, the same individuals only retained 25% of the information when they were not confident in their answer. In the context of the workplace employees who are both confident and correct in their answers take positive actions that are productive and effective, the reverse is true for employees who are confident but incorrect. I’ll give you an example to help illustrate imagine a situation where split-second decisions are critical say for instance hitting a patch of ice while driving to get yourself out of a slide you have to move your foot off the gas pedal refrain from hitting the brakes and steer into the direction of the skid to regain control of the vehicle these decisions must be made instinctively and simultaneously, and if confidence is low they will be hesitation which could potentially mean a reaction that’s either too late or incorrect resulting in an accident. Along these lines everyone has to make decisions multiple times per day while on the job whether it’s regarding what to say to a potential customer to make the sale or how to safely use a ladder to avoid injury and having the proper know-how and confidence, it is especially important in emergency situations like in the case of an active shooter scenario. Today progressive organizations are turning to adaptive microlearning powered by learning science to automatically tailor knowledge delivery to meet the needs of individual employees and their knowledge gaps the result is a dramatic impact on an organization’s ability to achieve business results. Whether that’s to improve customer service, increase dollars per transaction and sales, dry productivity or reduce preventable safety incidents and shrimp rates, there’s a revolution and workplace learning that’s grounded in science and focused on helping organizations build high-performing employees.