eLearning Hacks: Ways to Increase Information Retention Among Learners

By April 24, 2019 No Comments
information retention

Today’s modern learner is constantly bombarded with information and at a rapid pace. Students not only need to study definitions, equations, or other answers in order to ace exams or evaluations but also understand the value of it in order to willingly retain it long-term. If not, it can seem like a waste of time once they’ve submitted. In a world of information overload, provide a course design where details adhere to their minds in order to increase information retention past the exam.

How Do You Make Information Memorable?

The information taught needs to be delivered in such a way that is worth remembering. But, before conquering that aspect, let’s take a step back. Before you know how to make information memorable, you must first understand how we process it.

Whether you are a teacher or corporate trainer, it is essential to understand how people learn in order to help learners better retain information. People are either auditory learners or they are visual learners. This means that auditory learners are more likely to easily retain information by simply listening, while visual learners will learn more easily by watching and doing.

We also approach learning semantically. We take any past knowledge on a given topic and learn based on what we’ve assumed to know regarding it. All of that is then processed in our minds as memory encoding. Different memory storage will depend on how it will be retrieved in the future. If the information is only to be used in the short term then it could be retrieved sequentially while using it in the long term might lead to retrieval by association.

Traditional vs. Online Classrooms

To some, making information worth remembering is easier in a traditional classroom environment. A shared space for the instructor and learners allows for organic conversations and more hands-on teaching in ways that suit the needs of the individuals. On the other hand, because there is a different dynamic within the online classroom, creating a similar environment that yields retentive learning might take a bit more planning and execution but it is worth it.  

Creating Conversations

In traditional settings, educators often conduct constant streams of conversations within the classroom. The instructor poses a question and the students respond with their own ideas or observations. These discussions encourage participation and allow students to collectively learn, brainstorm, and see multiple points of view from their peers. As a group, you collaborate on the topic as its being taught, which significantly increases the likeliness of retaining that information.

While simpler to achieve in a traditional classroom, it can happen in an online, blended environment using forums. Depending on the type of forum used, these can create natural conversations online between instructors and users.

Within Moodle™ there are four types of forums:

  • Standard Forum for General Use.
  • Question/Answer, Single Simple Discussion.
  • Standard Forum Displayed Like a Blog.

Depending on the type of interaction the instructor desires, they can utilize whichever one suits their needs. The Question/Answer type allows for students to give their own opinion before viewing the opinions of their peers. Users must answer the question given to them by the instructor. With the Question/Answer forum type, there is then a thirty-minute window before the post is visible to others. This not only helps with academic honesty but also allows for users to express themselves independently without focusing on previously posted discussions.

Culminating Activities

Another activity that is useful in helping students to retain information is a Culminating Activity. A culminating activity consists of a long-term or multi-faceted project that encompasses the course or unit’s main learning points.  For example, a culminating activity could be a book module created by each student at the end of the semester. Their final product would encompass what they have learned throughout a predetermined amount of time.


Although not an activity, microlearning is a technique that helps students retain information as it is presented in smaller portions. Microlearning allows for a user to focus on “chunks” of information rather than on the topic as a whole. Microlearning lends itself to various learning methods including competitive quizzes or activities, learning games, mobile learning assignments, and moreEasily match smaller amounts of information focused on specific objectives with microlearning activities and resources best suited to the content. This effectiveness and the variety of the learning experiences increase learner engagement, thus ultimately making the information easier to remember. Microlearning is not applicable to every situation but is a method that will work in many scenarios.

Help students achieve success in an online or blended environment by providing activities that create conversation, interaction, and memorable learning opportunities with one another and their instructor. Forums, culminating activities, and microlearning and are just a few of the ways that this can be achieved.

Want to learn more?

Watch “Best of the 2018 U.S. Moodle™Moot: Lessons Learned Pt. 1” to hear from eThink’s Cyndi Bishop on “Ways to Make Your Information Worth Remembering,” as well as to hear a recap on a couple of the other lessons learned during the 2018 Moodle™Moot.

View Webinar

Or, request an individual demonstration to learn more about the learning possibilities available with eThink!

Request a Demo
By April 24, 2019