Booster Emails

Retain your Microsoft Office Training with Booster Emails

Too often students fail to recall and use important features, tools, and tips, tricks and shortcuts they have learned in their Microsoft Office training classes. Research shows (see below) that long-term retention requires immediate retrieval of learned information within the “hours, days, and weeks after encoding”—or it will not be retained.

Driven by this research, AxOx Training provides Booster Emails to students who take our traditional Microsoft Office classes. Booster emails are a series of follow-up emails that facilitate retrieval of information learned during training.  Booster Emails will be sent daily for the first week or so after training. We then taper them off and eventually phase them out. We seek to make these emails as brief as possible (see our Booster Email Policy). Students can always opt of out these emails at any time though we highly encourage Booster Email engagement to cement long-term retention of these vital skills. All of this seeks to ensure maximum retention of your Microsoft Office training.

At this time, we know of no other training company in the St. Louis region providing this kind of service.

A Summary of the Importance of Boosters

Booster emails are a vital benefit we offer to retain your Microsoft Office training. Below you will find research demonstrating the necessity of having an intentional system in place to help students retrieve and use the tips, tricks, shortcuts, and tools and features they learned in their Microsoft Office training.

Use it or Lose It!

Here is a summary of the research below:

  • What you do after training may be more important than what you do during training in terms of aiding long-term retention of learned material.
  • Retrieving information from memory is absolutely imperative to long-term retention of that information.
  • Recalling information from long-term memory helps retain other associated information that was learned at the same time.
  • A Booster strategy is one of your greatest ROI’s with Microsoft Office Training.

The research

How to Retain Microsoft Office Training

The information below is taken from Use It or Lose It: The Neuroscience of Learning, Retention, and Transfer,
Art Kohn, Association for Talent Development, February 9, 2015.

(Note: As of April 2017, clicking on this link takes you to the proper website to find this article but it prohibits you from reading it unless you pay a fee. If you google Art Kohn, Use it or Lose It,

and click on proper link, you can read the article in its entirety, though it is the exact same link as we have here).

According to Art Kohn, “in the film The Horse Whisperer, the character Tom Booker (Robert Redford) understands the special language of horses. He is in tune with the way the horse’s mind works, and he is able to whisper his messages and help horses cope with their trauma. We need a similar solution with human memory. We need a brain whisperer, someone who understands the special language of our brains and can tell the brain which information needs to be retained. Perhaps the best brain whisperer today is Henry Roediger, distinguished professor of psychology at Washington University in St. Louis.

In more than 40 years of research, Roediger has explored ways to communicate with the brain and overcome the forgetting curve. He finds that while forgetting is a pervasive process, it is not random. In fact, it is possible to signal the brain that a particular piece of information is important and that it should retain it.

Roediger has discovered that the brain will deem information as important if the brain has occasion to retrieve that information in hours, days, and weeks after encoding. Viewed another way, if a piece of new information is not recalled in the hours and days after you learn it, the brain will regard it as nonessential, and it is more likely to purge it.” And their “findings can be summed up in the adage ‘use it or lose it.’”

He also found that  “students who were given repeated retrieval opportunities did dramatically better than those students who had only a single retrieval opportunity.”

His experiment “along with dozens more, proves that providing retrieval opportunities prompts the brain, telling it that particular ideas are important and should be retained.”

“Roediger’s work has a critical message for corporate training: What we do after training can be more important than what we do during training. If you do nothing, you can expect your learners to purge most of this information within a few days. On the other hand, if you provide the learners with a series of retrieval opportunities, known as boosters, in the hours and days after training, you will cause the learner’s brain to regard information as important and retain it. A booster can take many forms. It can be a multiple-choice question (be sure to provide feedback on right and wrong answers), a poll, or even a short-answer question. The experience can be very short. What is important is that learners need to retrieve the information from long-term memory, thereby signaling their brains that the information is valuable and should be retained.

Booster training offers a simple but powerful opportunity to overcome the forgetting curve and enhance the return on investment of your training programs. Research shows that if you provide a booster experience that causes the learner to recall the information, the learner’s forgetting curve will be reset. Furthermore, if you strategically provide a series of these booster events, the forgetting curve will be reset each time and long-term retrieval will be maximized. Two other results are important to note. First, your booster events can be quite brief. For example, one experiment showed that a booster event that lasted only five seconds was just as effective as one that lasted 30 seconds or five minutes. Although this may seem counterintuitive, remember that the information already has been encoded during the learning process. There is no value in reteaching the material in a protracted booster event. Instead, the purpose of a booster experience is simply to provide the learner with a retrieval opportunity to cue the brain to retain the related information. A second important note is that a booster event will improve retention for an entire learning experience, and not just for the particular topics in the quiz question. This “halo effect” means that just a few booster experiences can enhance the retention of the entire training session.”

“ . . . What is clear is that doing anything, providing any sort of booster experience, is dramatically better than doing nothing at all. You can get started simply enough by sending email quizzes or by using a tool such as Survey Monkey.”


The information below is taken from Brain Science: Overcoming the Forgetting Curve, Art Kohn, April 10, 2014.

“So here is a mantra to yell over the top of your cubicle. If your goal is to produce long-term retention, and if your goal is to produce behavior change, then what you do after training is more important than what you do during training. If you do nothing, people will forget most of your training. However, if you provide them with a series of booster experiences, you will signal the learner’s brain that that particular information is important and, in turn, they will be far more likely to remember it.”


The information below is taken from Retrieval-Based Learning: Active Retrieval Promotes Meaningful Learning,  Jeffrey D. Karpicke, Purdue University, Abstract, APS, Association for Psychological Science, 2012, p. 157.

“Retrieval is the key process for understanding learning and for promoting learning, yet retrieval is not often granted the central role it deserves. Learning is typically identified with the encoding or construction of knowledge, and retrieval is considered merely the assessment of learning that occurred in a prior experience. The retrieval-based learning perspective outlined here is grounded in the fact that all expressions of knowledge involve retrieval and depend on the retrieval cues available in a given context. Further, every time a person retrieves knowledge, that knowledge is changed, because retrieving knowledge improves one’s ability to retrieve it again in the future. Practicing retrieval does not merely produce rote, transient learning; it produces meaningful, long-term learning. Yet retrieval practice is a tool many students lack metacognitive awareness of and do not use as often as they should. Active retrieval is an effective but undervalued strategy for promoting meaningful learning” (Italics mine).


The information below is taken from an article from a Wall Street Journal, So Much Training, So Little to Show for It, October 26, 2012. 

The Wall Street Journal interviewed Dr. Eduardo Salas, a professor of organizational psychology at the University of Central Florida and a program director at its Institute for Simulation and Training. “What happens before and after a training session, he says, is just as important as the actual instruction itself. ”

When asked how big of a problem is skills decay, Dr. Salas responded, “The American Society for Training and Development says that by the time you go back to your job, you’ve lost 90% of what you’ve learned in training. You only retain 10%. If you don’t use the skills very quickly, you will have big decay very quickly. That’s why you need to reinforce, you need to assess. If you learn something and you don’t have the opportunity to practice, eventually you are going to lose it” (italics mine).