Henry Butters
By Henry Butters on June 01, 2023

Tackling the Knowledge Retention Crisis: How to Make Learning Stick

Picture this: You invest time, effort, and resources into training your employees, equipping them with valuable knowledge and skills. But here's the harsh reality: within a week, a staggering 90% of what they learned is forgotten.  This is the knowledge retention crisis that plagues the learning and development sector. In this article, we're going to delve into the factors affecting knowledge retention, explore strategies to enhance it, and uncover how we can measure and evaluate this critical aspect.  


Factors Affecting Knowledge Retention 

There are several factors at play that contribute to this challenge. One of the primary culprits is the lack of reinforcement in learning programs. It's like learning to ride a bike but never getting on one again—you'll quickly forget how to balance and pedal. 

But there's more to the puzzle. Engagement, relevance, and personalised learning experiences play crucial roles in enhancing retention. When we're invested and interested in what we're learning, it sticks with us. This is why organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of making learning relevant to real work. 

In fact, a whopping 73% of Learning and Development (L&D) respondents cited "application to real work" as a crucial characteristic of leadership development programs. As Ernst & Young points out, "any formal learning incentive, whether self-selected or encouraged by L&D, should be directly linked to practice". It's about bringing theory to life and turning knowledge into action. 


How to Enhance Knowledge Retention 

To truly enhance knowledge retention, it's essential to go beyond passive learning and provide employees with opportunities to actively practice their skills and behaviours. 

Active learning techniques, such as experiential learning, offer a powerful way to engage employees and make learning stick. By immersing them in real-life scenarios and hands-on experiences, they can directly apply what they've learned, gaining practical insights and reinforcing their understanding. At Ethical Angel, we've taken this concept even further. Through our platform, employees can connect with meaningful volunteering opportunities aligned with the skills and behaviours they want to practice. This not only enhances knowledge retention but also sparks engagement and a sense of purpose. When employees actively participate in making a positive impact, their learning becomes more profound and enduring. 

By prioritising active learning and practical application, organisations can bridge the knowledge retention gap and empower their employees to thrive. 


Measuring and Evaluating Knowledge Retention 

Learning doesn’t stop there though. Assessing and measuring knowledge retention is the key to understanding the effectiveness of your learning initiatives. It helps to shine a spotlight on the areas that are working, and the ones that need improvement.  

One of the most effective methods is through continual feedback, where employees receive feedback every step of the way. This offers a holistic view of their performance and knowledge retention. Additionally, assessments tailored to specific learning objectives provide valuable insights into the level of comprehension and retention. 

Another powerful tool is the effective use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These metrics allow you to track the impact of learning on individual and organisational performance. By aligning KPIs with desired learning outcomes, you can measure progress and identify areas for further development. 

In this realm, Ethical Angel shines as a platform, offering not just a wealth of 31 KPIs and data points but also comprehensive feedback mechanisms. By harnessing these resources, you can gain actionable insights and continuously enhance your learning programs. 



We've explored the factors that impact retention, such as information overload and lack of reinforcement. We've uncovered effective techniques to enhance knowledge retention, including designing engaging learning programs and fostering a culture of continuous learning. And don't forget the importance of measuring and evaluating retention to track progress. Now, it's time to put it into practice.  

Reach out to the Ethical Angel team today, and let's discuss how we can help you bridge the gap, make learning stick, and drive lasting impact.  

Published by Henry Butters June 1, 2023
Henry Butters