Refresher Training: An Ideal Use for AI

Refresher Training: An Ideal Use for AI

One and done. People forget. Little changes. If this sounds like your organization’s approach to employee training, it’s time to consider refresher training. With the help of AI, you can turn the material you already have into engaging and effective refresher modules and quizzes in just a few moments. Follow up with these modules to make learning continuous and more sustainable. This will increase the impact of employee training.

Imagine this: you have developed and rolled out a new employee onboarding or training program but still see employees:

  • making the same mistakes
  • not using software tools correctly
  • not following new or updated policies
  • causing workplace accidents
  • sticking to the old brand values
  • not selling the new products

Why didn’t behavior or mindsets change post-training, you might ask. In this case, it’s time to tackle the problem at its roots.

Regular refreshers help employees remember and apply knowledge from training.
Image: Generated with Midjourney

People forget too much too soon

Employees need to stay updated with the latest knowledge, skills, and regulatory requirements. That’s why businesses invest in training in the first place.

Employee training is a significant investment for companies. The global e-learning market reached USD 316.2 billion in 2023 (Source) and by 2027, the market is projected to reach USD 462.6 billion (Source).

Professionally produced 20-minute e-learning courses cost between EUR 15’000 and EUR 25’000 (Source)

However, employees often struggle to retain and apply knowledge from training programs. The result: Little changes post-instruction.

There are two major reasons why knowledge doesn’t stick:

1. Information Overload

Our brains aren’t made to absorb a firehose of information. Too much information at once leads to overload. Cognitive load theory suggests that human working memory is limited to about 7 ± 2 units of information or “chunks.” More recent estimates suggest this capacity may be around 4 single-item chunks of stimuli that can be processed at once (source).

The consequence: knowledge doesn’t get stored in long-term memory.

What you can do: Break information into bite-sized chunks without overwhelming participants or taking too much time out of their busy days. Make the experience easy to access and use. Microlearning allows you to do exactly this.

2. Forgetting Curve

The term forgetting curve was originally coined by Hermann Ebbinghaus in 1880. It suggests that employees can forget up to 50% of what they learned within an hour if they don’t revisit the material. By the next day, this number can increase to 70%. Up to 90% of information is lost in a week when there is no attempt to retain it (source).

The findings have been replicated in newer studies indicating that around 80% of information is lost within the first six days (source).

Regardless of the exact percentage and time frame, people forget way too much too soon.

While it makes sense to be selective and remember only what is important for work, the numbers show that not refreshing knowledge makes employee training unsustainable.

Or in other words: Why train if they don’t retain?

What you can do: Apply a technique called spaced repetition, which is the foundation of refresher training.

Refresher Training Keeps Knowledge – Fresh

Refresher Training complements larger training programs and builds upon the foundations employees gain in initial onboarding and training. It follows up days, weeks, and months after a workshop, classroom training, or e-learning is done.

Designed to reinforce previously learned information, close knowledge gaps, and introduce new relevant information, it helps employees maintain proficiency and stay updated with industry standards and best practices.

Refresher training keeps employees sharp, compliant, and up-to-date. By revisiting what they have learned, you ensure their knowledge stays relevant.

Regular refresher training helps combat the forgetting curve.

Why Generative AI is Ideally Suited for Refresher Training

Generative AI leverages Large Language Models (LLMs) that represent the vast amount of data they have been trained on. These models learn the patterns, structures, and relationships within the data, specifically the language.

This allows them to generate text that sounds like it was written by a human. Additionally, they can convert existing material, such as training content or even policies, factsheets or guidelines, into new formats.

Read our article about generative AI for Learning & Development to dive deeper into the topic.

Using generative AI to transform existing material into a new format allows you to make better use of existing resources. Repurposing content that has already cost a lot helps protect your initial investment and increases its potential impact.

Moreover, AI can complete the task quickly.

If you wonder what a specialized tool like eggheads can do that ChatGPT, Gemini, or Mistral can’t do out of the box, here’s the answer:

  • First, you need to know how to prompt these AI chatbots (read our tips about good prompting), which takes experience and time. A specialized tool has already solved this step for you. All you need to do is provide the source content which is more convenient and efficient.
  • Second, a specialized tool gives you editorial control. While AI creates the first draft, an AI-enhanced authoring tool like eggheads lets you check the generated content for accuracy and enrich it with videos, images, gifs, or emojis. This way, you avoid the risks of AI errors (hallucinations, bias etc.) and know exactly what your audience will receive.
  • Third, specialized tools handle the entire workflow, from creation to delivery and tracking. For example, with eggheads, you can share AI-generated refresher training modules with staff and track their engagement and participation.

With AI, it’s never been easier to reuse existing training content. You can even create variations for different audiences to personalize the training.

9 Benefits of Refresher Training in HRM

1. Facilitates Adaptation to Change

Helping employees adapt to changes makes it easier for them to handle new rules, technologies, and market shifts. Keeping up with these changes can be hard, but regular updates can help.

2. Improves Performance and Productivity

Regular training builds competence, leading to fewer mistakes and higher-quality work. This makes employees more confident, productive, and efficient.

3. Ensures Safety and Compliance

Frequent reminders help maintain adherence to rules, standards, and safety regulations. Some eggheads customers use short, interactive bursts to keep awareness for IT security, data privacy, and compliance high. Refresher training is a cost-effective method to mitigate risks

4. Helps Remember What Matters

Refresher training concentrates on specific knowledge or skills that need reinforcement. It directs attention to what employees need to know and why it’s important.

As an eggheads customer doing refresher training for compliance put it: “I want staff to know when they need to push the red button”.

5. Reduces Costs

Reinforcing the knowledge from core training protects the initial investment by reducing the need for extensive new training sessions. This approach optimizes existing resources.

6. Empowers a Culture of Continuous Learning and Development

Weaving short and regular refresher training into daily workflows makes learning an integral part of work. Training is no longer a standalone activity that staff or management perceives as time away from work. Regular learning nuggets promote an environment where continuous learning and growth are valued

7. Improves Employee Engagement and Retention

Investing in employee development shows an organization’s commitment to its staff. This can boost engagement and motivation, reduce turnover, and increase loyalty.

8. Identifies Knowledge Gaps

When you include regular assessments and follow up with quizzes or scenarios to test understanding, you get valuable insights into areas that need improvement. These assessments work like a diagnostic tool, helping to identify specific skill gaps and guide future training plans.

9. Enhances Team Collaboration

Regular training ensures all team members have a shared understanding and knowledge base, which can improve team dynamics and collaboration.

Common Refresher Training Topics

Work Safety Training

Regular safety training can prevent accidents in hazardous environments. Refresher training for workplace safety includes instructions on emergency procedures, first aid, or fire safety so that all employees are ready for any situation.

Customer Service Training

Regular updates on customer service skills, such as active listening, conflict resolution, product knowledge, and company policies, are crucial for maintaining excellent customer service. Refresher training on standard operating procedures (SOPs) and best practices ensures customers enjoy the best possible experience.

Sales Training

Refresher training on sales techniques, strategies, and product knowledge keeps the sales team competitive and effective. It also helps sellers meet and exceed their targets.

Software Training

Frequent follow-ups on software programs ensure employees know how to handle the tools necessary for their roles.

Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Employee awareness of cybersecurity risks helps keep IT systems and data safe. Informing employees about the latest threats and best practices safeguards the organization’s information assets.

Regulatory Compliance Training

Another way to mitigate risks on a legal level and comply with laws like the GDPR or anti-money laundering as well as industry standards is through compliance training. Regular training keeps employees updated on regulatory changes and helps them understand the importance of adhering to these standards. Read our case study on how Fintech Ebury uses Microlearning for compliance refresher and awareness training.

Product Knowledge Training

Product knowledge training empowers frontline staff in sales and customer service to be competent in conversations with customers. As product features change and new products are launched, refresher training keeps them up to date.

Checklist “How to Create Refresher Training with the Help of AI”

Here is our checklist for effective refresher training. AI won’t do all the work for you, but it will make some steps much easier and faster. This will make refresher training way more efficient.

Plan

[ ] Identify the specific skills and knowledge areas that need refreshing. Using eggheads, you can gain insights into your staff’s knowledge levels in analytics. Measuring what people know is important because sometimes it’s not what you expect or what it should be. Checking analytics helps you make data-based decisions.

Create

[ ] Clearly explain the reasons behind the refresher training, what staff needs to know, and why it’s important. This could be standalone information or how-to content.

[ ] Establish the frequency of the refresher training.

[ ] Create refresher training modules. Focus on precise, need-to-know information. This is where AI supports you. With eggheads, you can use the content from the initial training and instantly get interactive microlearning modules like tutorials, quizzes, or a mix of both (see how it works).

Quizzes are a great way to reinforce learning. When people are tested on what they’ve learned, they’re more likely to remember it. You could send out a quick quiz after a training session or presentation to highlight key point (read more about AI Quiz Generators).

Deliver

[ ] Decide between e-learning, microlearning, or in-person sessions based on the content and audience. You might also consider blended learning approaches.

[ ] Deliver the refresher training modules through a channel that is easy to access and use. For example, you can use Microsoft Teams with the egghead Microsoft Teams app or share a simple weblink that works on smartphones, tablets, and computers. This allows staff to learn on the fly.

Analyze

[ ] Use systems to monitor training completion and assess its impact. When you use eggheads for refresher training, you can find this data in the analytics.

[ ] Collect feedback from participants to identify areas for improvement. With eggheads, you can create a conversational survey and use AI to analyze open feedback.

Let’s Refresh the Key Messages about Refresher Training

  • Exposing staff to training content once isn’t enough. You need ongoing refresher training based on previously learned material.
  • Refresher training helps you tackle information overload and the forgetting curve. In other words: you help staff retain information and eventually adopt new behavior.
  • You might see refresher training as an extra step. It’s a small, quick, and easy enhancement to core training that, with the help of AI, is easy and efficient.
  • Imagine this: a manufacturer buying a new machine that starts to rust just a few days or weeks after it’s delivered to the plant. Every business would look at this as sunk costs and ask how they can protect their investment and increase the impact. If you ask yourself these questions in relation to employee training, refresher training is for you.
  • So why limit employee training to initial classroom sessions or e-learning instead of increasing its potential impact? Refresher training is a powerful and efficient way to boost the impact of employee training.

Do you want to start with efficient refresher training with the help of AI? We encourage you to request a free eggheads trial account or reach out to us.

FAQ about Refresher Training with AI

What is refresher training and why is it important?

Refresher training is designed to reinforce previously learned information, close knowledge gaps, and introduce new relevant information. It helps employees maintain proficiency, stay updated with industry standards, and combat the forgetting curve, ensuring that training investments are effective and sustainable.

How often should refresher training be undertaken?

The frequency of refresher training depends on the specific knowledge and skills being reinforced. However, it is generally recommended to conduct refresher training sessions regularly, such as days, weeks, or months after the initial training, to ensure continuous knowledge retention and proficiency.

What are the main benefits of refresher training in HRM?

Refresher training offers multiple benefits including improved performance and productivity, enhanced safety and compliance, cost reduction, promotion of continuous learning, increased employee engagement and retention, identification of knowledge gaps, and better team collaboration.

What can I do for follow-up after conducting refresher training?

For effective follow-up, use systems to monitor training completion and assess its impact. Collect feedback from participants to identify areas for improvement. Implementing quizzes or scenarios to test understanding can also provide valuable insights into knowledge retention and gaps.

How can AI enhance refresher training programs?

AI can transform existing training materials into engaging refresher modules and quizzes. It can repurpose resources quickly, create interactive microlearning modules, and provide editorial control to ensure accuracy. AI also supports spaced repetition techniques to improve knowledge retention.

What are common topics covered in refresher training?

Common refresher training topics include work safety, customer service, sales techniques, software programs, cybersecurity awareness, regulatory compliance, and product knowledge. These areas are critical for maintaining proficiency and compliance in various industries.

Why do employees forget training material quickly?

Employees often forget training material due to information overload and the forgetting curve. Our brains can only process a limited amount of information at once, and without reinforcement, up to 90% of information can be lost within a week.

How does spaced repetition help in refresher training?

Spaced repetition involves revisiting training material at regular intervals. This technique helps reinforce learning, combat the forgetting curve, and ensure that information is stored in long-term memory. It is a key method used in effective refresher training.

What role does generative AI play in refresher training?

Generative AI, utilizing large language models, can efficiently convert existing training materials into new formats, create variations for different audiences, and ensure content is engaging and up-to-date. Specialized tools like eggheads provide editorial control and reduce the risk of errors.

How does refresher training reduce costs for organizations?

Refresher training optimizes existing resources by reinforcing knowledge from core training sessions, reducing the need for extensive new training programs. This approach protects the initial training investment and minimizes the costs associated with retraining employees from scratch.

Related terms

Spaced Repetition, Spaced Retrieval, and Retrieval Practice are closely related as they all involve techniques for improving memory retention through repeated exposure or recall.

Spaced Repetition

A learning technique that involves **reviewing information at increasing intervals to improve long-term retention.

Spaced Retrieval

Similar to spaced repetition, it is a method where **learners are prompted to recall information after progressively longer intervals

Retrieval Practice

A strategy where **learners actively recall information from memory, which strengthens their ability to remember it later.

Learning Reinforcement is broader but still directly related to the techniques mentioned above.

Learning Reinforcement

Broad strategies to enhance and solidify learning, which can include methods like spaced repetition and retrieval practice.

Training reinforcement

Techniques used to reinforce learning and skills acquired during training, ensuring they are retained and applied.

Refresher Training

Periodic training sessions to reinforce previously learned material and ensure it remains fresh and applicable.

Sounds similar but is not related: Reinforcement Learning

A type of machine learning where an agent learns to make decisions by performing actions and receiving feedback from the environment in the form of rewards or punishments.

Get your AI-Chatbot for employee onboarding, training and performance support.

How to get started

Explore on your own

Are you a business or training professional? Request your free account below.

Talk to us first

Reach out to us here, and Pascal, one of our founders, will personally get back to you. Or directly book a call.

Already have an account? Log in