Embed the Learning

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Do you as a trainer, find it frustrating that your material just doesn’t seem to stick with your students long term?. There are a couple of reasons for this. We can assist our student to retain information in their long term memory, so that they quickly and easily access it for transfer and use.

How confident are you that you would be able to resit your 17 year old driver’s theory test here right now? Most people laugh and guess at about 30-50% yet to get our learner’s permit we had to be over 90% so what has happened?

There are common sense and Neurological reasons why this happens. There are simple things we can do to help our students cement information into their brains for quick, longer term retrieval.

Active Recall and Space Repetition

A great way to assist students embed information is to use the idea Active Recall and Space Recall.

This is a well-researched technique to build retention. It works on neutralising the “Forgetting curve” where, over time, our recall of information falls quite dramatically even within the first twenty-four hours. There are many You tube clips on how to do it and well as written articles.

For trainers and Educators, we can assist our students retain and recall information over a sustained period. This is achievable with a 30-minute effort of regular recall over a six-month period which we put into our diaries.

Again, the Neuro research says that Recall of information is vastly superior to Review and Recognition of information. That means that we have them recall through an explanation of concept. Like a new track in the jungle that is continually trodden on, it becomes clear and easier to walk. Regular recall embeds fast neuro pathways to activate and retrieve information.

This continual spaced recall has to be fun and varied so students don’t even know they are revising and not see it as a chore. It should be encouraged with the first 10minutes to six hours after learning a topic, then twenty-four hours later, one week later, one month, three month and six months as a rule. For difficult topics it may pay to do it a little more regularly. There are now several apps that help with this Spaced Recall.

Learning How to Learn

First, we should spend some time with students helping them understand how they learn and what they can do to help their brain retain information. Here are some simply ideas that you can explore with them. Please remember that they need to be able to recall and explain the concept or content not just review their notes.   Check out our Learning HOW to Learn program – Click here.


  • Use colour
  • Draw pictures or images of the task and the flow of the concept
  • Storyboarding
  • Draw and label model
  • Use Mindmaps


  • Get them to teach someone else the concept, preferably someone who knows nothing about the topic
  • Team them up and get them to recall
  • Use phone recording apps
  • Podcast and auditory books
  • Chat rooms and group discussions
  • When explaining a concept get them to use sketches and drawings as well


Have your students mime out the information and connectiveness either physically or in their imagination. There may be nine steps to making a bed in a residential care situation. Rather than having bullet point steps have the students imaging doing the steps with their bodies whilst sitting in their chair or standing in a 1.5 metre circle. Get them up to draw with stick figures each of the steps.


Activities with Educators can do to build recall and retention:

Do not underestimate the power of recall and retrieval in your classes. What are some of the ways you use to assist your students retention? I am happy to share dozens of ideas that the participants in past Brain Friendly Training courses and webinars have suggested. Email us with one of your own and an explanation of how to use it and we will send you our ever-growing list. The more options we have the better for our students!

Don’t forget to check out our Master Trainer Series which covers this topic in detail – Click here.


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