One big mistake that training and development professionals often make is treating an eLearning course as a boring routine task that only exists to make everyone miserable. No need to say, this approach does not lead to long lasting positive results from the training. We should look at eLearning courses we offer to our learners as series of challenges. The completion of the courses should require some amount of effort and attention. If a learner feels that completing an eLearning course is an achievement, he/she is more likely to apply the knowledge from the course in real life, ensuring you receive a return on your investment, as well as possible higher performance, employee morale, and job satisfaction.
So why would a more complicated training course result in a better outcomes (meaning, knowledge retention, knowledge application, better recall, etc.)? To provide a simple answer: because struggling, trying, and persevering cause emotions.
A normal function of emotion is to enhance memory in order to improve recall of experiences that have importance or relevance for our survival. Emotion acts like a highlighter pen that emphasizes certain aspects of experiences to make them more memorable. Memory formation involves registering information (encoding), processing and storage, and retrieval.
Emotion affects all the phases of memory formation through:
1. Attention: Attention that guides our focus to select what’s most relevant for our lives and is normally associated with novelty.
2. Consolidation of a memory: Most of the information we acquire is forgotten and never makes it into long-term memory. When we learn a complex problem, the short-term memory is freed up and the action becomes automatic.
3. Memory recall: Memories of painful emotional experiences linger far longer than those involving physical pain.
4. Priming: Past memories are often triggered or primed by one’s environment. Priming refers to activating behavior through the power of unconscious suggestion.
5. Mood memory: Our current emotional state facilitates recall of experiences that had a similar emotional tone. When we are in a happy mood, we tend to recall pleasant events and vice versa.
6. Duration neglect: The way we remember events is not necessarily made up of a total of every individual moment. Instead, we tend to remember and overemphasize the peak (best or worst) moment and the last moment, and neglect the duration of an experience.