One of the primary goals for business leaders constructing a workplace training programme for their employees is undoubtedly to improve learning retention.

Perceptual thinking works to achieve this by breaking down traditional methods of learning in favour of new techniques that aim to maximise how employees receive and retain the information they are given, in various formats.

One major area of perceptual thinking focuses on the development of storage strength and retrieval strength, which, when mastered, allows individuals to not only be able to recall relevant information, but retain it better. The benefit of this is that businesses can save time and money compared to generic strategies where employees will likely forget information after a certain amount of time.

But how does storage strength and retrieval strength work? And how can they both be incorporated into workplace training?

Retrieval strength vs storage strength

The theory of disuse and retrieval strength vs storage strength was first coined by Robert Bjork, and has widely become a useful method in perceptual thinking, especially in modern workplace training programmes. We’ve outlined how they differ below.

Retrieval strength

Retrieval strength focuses on how easily information can be recalled by an individual short term, and is measured by current performance. For example, a high retrieval strength would be remembering the specific platform a train is to arrive at, as this can be recalled easily for a transient period.

An example of low retrieval strength would be someone recalling the exact platform a train arrived at six months ago, as the individual is not likely to remember this quickly, if at all.

In regards to workplace training, retrieval strength can be assessed by introducing regular focused learning tests to determine how well employees can recall specific information related to the business short term. This way, leaders will be able to gauge how much relevant data each employee is storing at any given time.

Storage strength

As opposed to retrieval strength, storage strength concerns recalling specific information embedded over an extended period. 

An example of high storage strength would be an individual recalling the postcode from an old address they lived at. Although the information will not be instantly remembered, the individual will be able to eventually recall it as it’s embedded deep in their memory.

This method of perceptual thinking benefits workplace training courses as leaders will be able to take the information they want their employees to embed long term, and when it comes to re-studying after a specific period of time, it will become clear how well employees are retaining information, allowing leaders to assess how effective their programmes are.

Perceptual thinking: our approach

Here at MDA Training, we utilise perceptual thinking methods in our training programmes to provide businesses with bespoke solutions. 

We believe that employees benefit the most from learning in flexible and active ways. By implementing perceptual thinking methods alongside simulations and workshops specifically tailored to your business, we are able to create an effective training service for your relevant industry. For more on the perceptual thinking methods we use, please read our blog here.

Making the best use of knowledge along with how employees retain and recall information is improving, and perceptual thinking methods serve to maximise retention in the workplace. By opening up a further analysis of how capable employees are within their roles, leaders can get a clearer indication of performance as well as an enhanced return on investment from their programmes.