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Board and Fraud is a blog that aims to bring a practical approach to issues facing the board of directors and the audit committee specifically in the area of governance, risk management, compliance, and internal audit, with a strong focus on fraud, ethics, and internal controls.

Training or Draining? Mitigating Disremember Risk!

We seem to forget things that don’t interest us or are no longer useful. The problem, however, is that in the process of forgetting, our brain often purges important information.

I have been to many training sessions over my career and I know what I like and what I don’t like. I also have a good nose for what is effective and will more likely than not be retained long after the training ends – you probably do too!

Training and educational programs should be designed to teach employees, agents, and others periodically and in a practical manner on the requirements applicable to their jobs or duties and to update them on any regulatory changes and trends.

Usually it’s not the design of the training that’s problematic. It’s the delivery or approach that fails us, but will the methodology or approach of delivering training ever evolve? Or, will 2019 just provide us with another chorus of empty responses.

What organizations consistently fail to recognize is that training is not an event, it’s a process. A process which requires identification of critical learning objectives (based on needs), development of the program, facilitation by an experienced practitioner, and targeted follow-up to reinforce the learning objectives.

The traditional practice of training is unfortunately dead on arrival. Whether it is bringing the training on site, sending your team offsite, or participating in webinars, these training techniques are antiquated and do absolutely nothing to mitigate the disremember risk.

The amount a learner will forget varies depending on many things, but some say that within one hour, attendees will have forgotten an average about 50% of the information presented during training; within 24 hours, attendees will have forgotten an average 75%; and within a week, attendees will have forgotten more than 90% of the information presented.

Regardless, it’s fair to say that we all forget some things presented during training, but in general, the possibility your training is ineffective, should cause you to pause, and prompt you to think about the entire training process. Because in the worst case, no matter how much you invest into training, it is possible that nearly everything you teach to your employees and others could soon be forgotten. Staggering, is that very few organizations can speak confidently about learning retention.

That’s why I really like A methodology, which utilizes a blended training approach. This approach combines the traditional training process mentioned previously with custom video summaries (usually 3-6 minutes in length) delivered to attendees simultaneously via e-mail and text. These summaries are unique to each session based on discussions held during a training event and helps to reinforce the critical learning objectives. The number of summaries and the timing of the distribution are based on the length of the course presented. Additionally, the distribution and viewership are tracked and custom reporting is generated to determine compliance with the learning process and provide the organization with feedback on what is working and what might require more attention.

Behavior change, also known as learning, requires a level of commitment from all concerned and should endure long after a training event. The BT approach in my opinion is a leading practice that not only addresses disremember risk, but also proactively identifies future training needs.

I welcome your thoughts and ideas. Unless you lost that clever thought or forgot your awesome idea?

Have a nice weekend.


Jonathan T. Marks, CPA, CFF, CFE

Brain Science: Art Kohn
Work Learning Research
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