Teach Yourself by Teaching Others

I have this happen to me all the time; I go to a conference with the intention to learn all the best practices of other companies only to realize the next day that I can’t remember what was being said. If you know the feeling I’m talking about, then know you are not the only one.

Research by David A. Sousa suggests that the average retention of information after 24 hours of a lecture is only 5%. He also observes that the retention of information significantly increases if you use other audiovisuals (10% retention), demonstration (30% retention) or involve people in the topic through discussions (50% retention).

The second best retention method is to practice by doing (75% retention). This is the main reason I design my interventions in a way that participants get their ‘hands dirty’ and actually practice the content through role-play, simulation and/or applying it to an actual work situation.

However, if you want to teach yourself and want to remember what you have learned, the best way to do this is by teaching others (95% retention). So next time you read a book, make a mind map of the book’s content and share it with your colleagues, or following your next conference, spend 20 minutes in a team meeting to share the best practices you picked up from other companies. Or when you visit a supplier, present industry trends that you have picked up from your discussions with him/her. I’m sure you get the picture! The key is to share your knowledge with others; teach them and you teach yourself.

Good luck teaching!

– Paul Keijzer

4 thoughts on “Teach Yourself by Teaching Others

  1. Being a training facilitator, I fully agree with all you said about retention of knowledge. Although, I would like to increase the percentage of audiovisuals to at least 15%, if they are humourous in nature and presented in easy language.

    • Thanks for your comment Qamar. Think you are absolute right. as long as it is no bullets points, the ultimate weapon of mass presentation!

  2. interesting subject and this is true that by doing the practice that what we have learned theoricaly, can increase retension of knowledge more then 50% as compare the other options.

    Sr. Executive HR

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