Boost Knowledge Retention by Adding Some “White-Space”

Want to turbo-charge the amount of knowledge that your students take away from your training classes and actually apply in the real world? Try providing “white-space” for reflection during each training day.

Research has shown that people in training sessions who spend time at the end of the day actively thinking and reflecting on what they’ve learned performed 23% better after 10 days than those who did not.

A consultant we sometimes partner with refers to this reflective process as “white-space”, similar to the empty space on a Google page.

At PriSim, we’ve begun to incorporate white-space activities into all of our business simulation training courses – here’s how:

  1. After the first competitive round of the simulation (typically on the afternoon of the first day of training) when participants are overwhelmed by the amount of data to be analyzed and the complexity of the decision-making required within the simulation, we conduct our first white-space exercise. We ask the group to work on the following questions; however, these questions can vary depending upon the specific learning objectives of the event.

    White-Space Exercise #1:

    1. Individually – 2-minutes:
      • What key learning from the competition have you pulled out of Round 1?
      • What can your team do differently in Round 2?
    2. Pair up with 1 other team member – 3-minutes:
      • Discuss your learning points.
    3. Team discussion – 5-minutes:
      • Each pair to share 1 of their learning points.

    Participants then go into the second round of competition with new purpose and energy – and knowledge has been cemented in their minds a little more solidly.

  2. At the end of the next day we conduct our second white-space exercise, asking participants what they’ll do differently in their real-world jobs after the competition is over.

    White-Space Exercise #2:

    1. Individually – 2-minutes:
      • What key learning about business in the real-world have you pulled out of the competition?
      • How will you apply that learning in your real-world job?
    2. Pair up with 1 other team member – 3-minutes:
      • Discuss your learning points.
    3. Team discussion – 5-minutes:
      • Each pair to share 1 of their learning points.

These simple exercises help participants retain the concepts they’ve learned in the course and discover specific ways to apply them in the real world.

How can you incorporate white-space into your learning events?