Learning and Knowledge Retention

Learning and Knowledge Retention.

Since my early days in teaching athletics first in a Country Club setting and then at University, I have always been intrigued by how people learn. In the earliest form of learning, as a parent or a preschool teacher, the tried and true methodology: – Show – Tell – Show – Try. We start by showing you what we are going to teach you. Then we will tell you what we just showed you. Telling a story is usually the best method here. Then we will show you again. Finally, you will try it yourself. Depending on risk and degree of difficulty we might even get into a “with assistance” – “to assistance” – “solo” type of structure.

It works. It has always worked. But today we have a lot more knowledge and examples of learning methods to draw upon. And they really help, if we design the learning experience properly.

Some points to start with and consider: – Chanty Hyder, an intern at Survey Anyplace provides us six high level results of their surveys.

  1. The storage capacity of the human brain is virtually unlimited.
  2. The mind needs to be exercised like any other muscle in the body.
  3. Our attention spans are getting shorter. We are bombarded with more things online.
  4. You are never too old to learn
  5. After one hour, people retain less than 50% of the information presented
  6. To learn. The brain builds on existing knowledge

I started teaching in a classroom at a very prestigious University. I was teaching students in the Physical Education Majors how to coach and teach water sports. We used seventy-five-minute lectures, followed by seventy-five minute “in the water” case examples of the lecture content. Two and a Half hours, three days a week. Tough duty. I had a class size of between 16 and 32 students, with one sometimes two teaching assistants.

At Learning Without Scars we started with a three-day classroom format, eight hours each day. That evolved to a two-day, fifteen-hour format. Within that structure we had four blocks of specific operations learning.

Then webinars arrived when everyone tried to reduce the cost of learning for equipment dealers. The webinars were first seventy-five minutes which we then shortened to one hour. I really didn’t like the webinar approach as a teacher as I could not see the students. As a teacher I rely on visual signals, facial or body language, to determine actual learning and comprehension.

Then we used a 3D camera and we broke the learning sessions down to ten to fifteen-minute increments, sometimes these increments were as short as five minutes BUT never more than fifteen minutes. At those breaks I would turn off the audio-visual presentation and appear in camera and talk to the group of students.

Today, we have Skype, and Zoom, and Microsoft with Teams and Google providing software that allows us to see each other and share screens and emulate a classroom type of experience. This has helped in the learning process.

That still requires a schedule that the students and the teachers have to fit in to their daily lives. That is where internet-based learning takes over. Learning is available when you want it and where you want it. You can fit the learning into your life and your schedule.

So back to Ms. Hyder and her points in the paper “7 Facts You Didn’t Know About Your Memory and Knowledge Retention” I referenced above. This is how we have designed and continue to refine our classes.

Each class follows a similar format. We have a Pretest to ascertain the understanding each student has about the course content before they start the class. Then we will assign reading materials, then they enter a slide show with embedded audio tracks. This segment will end or sometimes will have a film clip inserted into the segment. Then there is a short quiz. Then another segment sometimes with a quiz or perhaps a short survey or a short essay. Each segment is approximately ten to fifteen minutes in length and a class consists of eight to ten segments. Finally, there is an assessment of the learning of each student at the end of the class. We require a score of 80% in order to pass out of each class and go on to another. The student can repeat the class as many times as they want, however, they can only take the final assessment three times before we block them if they haven’t achieved the 80% score.

This is in keeping with the current “learning and retention” theory in use today. At Learning Without Scars we are constantly researching and adapting. As new techniques and methods are identified that provide better results, we adjust our programs.

I believe, more than ever, that in today’s work environment the dealership must be more involved in training. This training has to be in the most effective and efficient method possible. That way they will be able to attract more talented and motivated employees. One of my Core Beliefs is that Passionate People Perform. Your employees will make or break your business. With talented people you will prevail and provide long lasting high levels of customer service and loyal customers. Without them you won’t. It is as simple as that.

The Time is Now.   



Twenty years ago, in 1999, John Chambers, then CEO of CISCO Systems said, “Education over the internet is going to make email usage look like a rounding error.” The renowned Clairmont Professor and business guru thought that “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”

As those of you who read this blog know we are serious proponents of providing tools for employees whereby they can reach their potential. Learning to me is a lifelong pursuit. You really only start to learn once you leave the structured education system that we have in place. Too many people, however, act as if that is the end of their education.

We are extremely pleased to be in the final stages of certification by the IACET, the International Association of Continuous Education and Training. They have a very rigorous certification process that we have completed and are in the final review process. You will hear more on this in the near future when we get all of the documentation completed.

This is the final step in our platform for training in the Heavy Equipment, Light Industrial, Material Handling, Trailer, and Ground Water Industries with which we are associated. We will be the only certified company in these Industries in the world.

We ran a brief review of our offerings within the past month and it is quite substantial. We currently have around 90 people taking classes on line every day. We have enrolled over 600 people in the past two years. It is starting to take hold.

What we offer is an employee development structure for each job function in the Parts and Service world. We assist dealers and distributors and some manufacturers now in creating a learning path for specific jobs. A career path if you will. We are in the final stages of announcing our “badge” program.

The Physical Universities and Vocational Schools are the only ones who can provide a “parchment” that says University Degree. The internet-based learning world is “not allowed” to offer degrees. We offer and provide badges. In our programs the badges cover; Operations, leadership, Sales, and Finance. Each class earns a badge and after accumulating Badges taking classes there are four levels of achievement; Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Each student can share their learning results from us with their prospective employers which provides, we believe, a much more complete picture of the knowledge of each individual who has followed our programs.

A study done in 1000 by WR Hambrecht + Co called “Exploring a New Frontier” provided the following list of factors driving e-Learning:

• Rapid obsolescence of knowledge and training
• Internet access if standard at home and at work
• The need for just in time training.
• Technological advances enable interactive and media rich content.
• Efficient means to train a global or national work force
• Increasing bandwidth allowing more streamed content
• Increases in skills gap and demographic changes
• Growing selection of e-learning products and services
• Demand for flexibility for lifelong learning
• New standards to facilitate compatibility, usability of e-learning product
• Wide variety of topics addressing business objectives
• HR, Management, Customer Service and Compliance Topics
• Simple access point and integrated data
• AICC and SCORM standards for inter-operability

I believe that e-Learning is now starting to hit its stride. All of the above points are even more pronounced today.

We are hitting our stride as well:

 We have created our platform – the learning management system
 We have developed the products – over 112 different programs
 We are in the final stage of accreditation – IACET
 We are finalizing the recognition programs with our badges

Now it is time to sell the program and get more people learning on a daily basis.

We highlighted a quote from Peter Drucker at the outset of this blog “knowledge has to be constantly improving or else it vanishes.”

Where are you in your learning?

 Are you reading books and taking classes constantly?
 Or is your knowledge becoming dated and no longer current?

I think we all can do much more in our lives and in our careers. In fact, with the rapid rate of change in the world around us I believe it is absolutely critical for us to continue to learn. What do you think?

The Time is NOW.

Friday Filosophy #2015-14

Today, Good Friday, I would like to provide you with quotations on knowledge, may all of you have a truly wonderful day and week. Please take a moment to reflect on knowledge with this Friday Filosophy #2015-14.

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.

Benjamin Franklin

Real knowledge is to know the extent of your ignorance.


To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.


Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement.

Peter Drucker

To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.

Marilyn vos Savant

A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.


All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.

Immanual Kant

They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it’s not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.

Terry Pratchett

Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.

Peter Drucker

Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.


The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.

Albert Einstein.

There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.

Bertrand Russell

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society in every family.

Kofi Annan

Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.


The time is now.

Friday Filosophy #2014-39

“The key to happiness is having dreams. The key to success is making your dreams come true.”

Author Unknown


“This life is worth living, we can say, because it is what we make it.”

William James


“If we do not plant knowledge when young, it will give us no shade when we are old.”

Lord Chesterfield


From the annals of Slee Says – “Life is Simple. It is people that screw it up”


The time is now…