How it works

There are three ways of getting training messages across:

  1. Being told the concept, idea or method.
  2. Being told and shown the concept, idea or method.
  3. Being told, shown and experiencing the concept, idea or method.

Which of the three ways resonates most? And which training method stays with the participants the longest?

A famous study first initiated by IBM in America and then later replicated in the UK by the Post Office set out to compare and contrast all three methods of training in order to find which was the most effective. In this study a group of people, from all levels in the organisation, were divided randomly into three subgroups. Each group was taught the same quite simple thing, using the three different approaches.

The results are as shown:

Told Told & Shown Told, Shown & Experienced
Recall after 3 weeks 70% 72% 85%
Recall after 3 months 10% 32% 65%

As seen here, drama-based training is shown to be by far the most effective method of embedding and retaining learning. For us, what is most striking is how dramatically recall declines when people are only ‘told’ something. Clearly the method which works best is being told it, shown it and experiencing it personally.

The key then, to the drama based training that RPfT practise, is enabling participants to actually experience the concept, idea, model or method that the session is about. Doing is at the heart of every method we use – whether it’s role play, forum theatre or simulations.

People learn best and retain ideas longer when they actually experience them. That is where our expertise lies and that is why we are committed to drama based training and experiential learning in general.