The reality of learning today: minutes per week

Research by Bersin by Deloitte shows that in a given week, employees take less than 25 minutes of time to learn. In addition, knowledge workers spend less than 40% of the average workweek on tasks specific to their jobs (28% email, 19% searching and gathering information, 14% on communicating and collaborating internally).

We learn 24 minutes per week
click to enlarge

We learn but we forget quickly

In the last decade, we have moved from macro-learning (‘I want to learn something new’) to micro-learning (‘I need help now’). We believe this is a good thing. Already since the late 1800s we know that ‘binge education’ doesn’t work. The original research by psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus has brought us the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve (the blue line in the below graph):

Overcoming the Ebbinghaus curve

People forget quickly. In the first 10 minutes after having learned something new, we forget 30% points of that newly acquired knowledge. After one week, 90% of it is gone. This graph shows that only frequent repetition increases retention of knowledge.

Should we learn more often then?

Yes, of course but the question is how to make it easy, fun and effective.
The knowledge retention concept shown in the above graph is known as ‘Spaced Learning’. Today’s learning should include spaced learning, but it is much more than that. Today’s learning is about ‘flow’ not ‘instruction’. Learning today should include many different types of content, such as video, audio and text. A learning system of today should collect data on interactions and activities within the context of a training. It needs to provide content based on an individual’s usage of a system. It should bring learning to people throughout their digital experience, i.e. seamless across his device(s) of choice.

Is your L&D ready for 2020?

A learning system ready for 2020 should essentially, provide a personalised learning experience for everyone in all its aspects. Such a system will automatically increase the amount of time spent on learning. More importantly, it will be embedded in a person’s routine. A double whammy: a co-worker will become more knowledgeable and more productive without loss of productive time at work.

See also our article on the learning trends 2018-2020.

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