News story

Why does training so often fail to translate into improved employee performance?

LondonLearning NewsElephants Don't Forget

80% of what employees learn is forgotten within 28 days; Artificial Intelligence is the solution. Presenting at Learning Technologies, Andy Wade – Microsoft’s Senior Business Program Manager – and Adrian Harvey – CEO at Elephants Don’t Forget – will examine why AI is the critical component missing from L&D programmes.


Learning theory was shaped by the ‘forgetting curve’ pioneered by Hermann Ebbinghaus. Where there is no attempt to retain information, behavioural science shows that 60% of ‘learned’ material is lost after just 48 hours, increasing to 80% after a month.

For L&D professionals, this significantly diminishes the return on investment that can be tangibly demonstrated from their efforts.

E-learning modules and online webinars have become the favoured methods for learning and development, preferred by 47% and 41% of organisations. Yet CIPD found that measurement of the effectiveness of these programmes lacks sufficient rigour.[1]

One in four L&D teams (24%) have no systematic means of evaluation, whilst 36% rely on subjective employee satisfaction scores and 18% look for changes in skills and knowledge.

Through the lens of Microsoft’s recent success with Elephants Don’t Forget, which led to significant improvements to customer-centric KPIs, Wade and Harvey will examine why Artificial Intelligence is pivotal to effective L&D initiatives and consider the benefits being missed from a traditionalist single-point-in-time approach to employee training.

For the audience at Learning Technologies, their presentation will apply Ebbinghaus’ studies to today’s contextual environment, where businesses are losing billions in preventable people-based performance issues.

Employers spend £42 billion on annual training.[2] Taking into account that 80% of this value will be lost due to knowledge fade, that means £33.6 billion fails to land with employees.

Wade and Harvey will evidence how AI can improve employee competence at scale and provide L&D with actionable data insights that can be converted into meaningful business performance enhancers. In the case of Microsoft, their Xbox and Devices divisions benefited from a 12.5% decrease in Average Handling Time (AHT), 9% increase in First Contact Resolution (FCR) and a 5% increase in Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) over an eight-month period.

Join Adrian Harvey and Andy Wade on the 5th May for their impactful seminar from 10.15 to 10.45 am in Theatre 11.

Or, for a lesson on brain science and the cost of employee knowledge fade, Harvey will also be speaking in a 15-minute segment on the 4th May in Bitesize Learning Zone 1, starting from 10.15 am.

[1] Crowley, E. and Overton, L. (2021) Learning and skills at work survey 2021. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
[2] UK Gov, Employer Skills Survey 2019: Training and Workforce Development.