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Why Lean Six Sigma Certification Ensures You Retain What You Learn - GoLeanSixSigma.com

It turns out that for Yellow Belts and Green Belts, taking the Certification Exam is key to understanding the material.

A New York Times article, How Tests Make Us Smarter, raised an essential point related to Yellow and Green Belt Certification. Taking these tests improves learning and retention, “Used properly, testing as part of an educational routine provides an important tool not just to measure learning, but to promote it.”

“Used properly, testing as part of an educational routine provides an important tool not just to measure learning, but to promote it.”

Most of us know reading a book is a pleasurable and educational experience. We enter new worlds and get exposed to valuable tools and theories, the dirty little secret, and this is not just for the over-50 set, is that we forget most of what we read. Research shows that highlighting select passages doesn’t embed the content. The article points out, “many studies reveal that much of what we learn is quickly forgotten.”

Your Approach to Learning Is Key

This reality of forgetting content is true for training whether it’s online or in a classroom. As a trainer I see again and again how people are able to retain less if they are not able to put that knowledge immediately to use. As the article points out, “a central challenge to learning is finding a way to stem forgetting.” This led me to adopt the Socratic Method: asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking. There are times when I’m asked to fit more content into each day, but I have found that both limiting the content and then engaging in a dialogue with participants is better and, in fact, vital to their success.

What about online training? The very kind narrator of GoLeanSixSigma.com’s Training is not a live facilitator, but that’s why we do 2 things very well:

  1. We incorporate lots of interactive opportunities to try out new tools and techniques – putting new-found concepts into action.
  2. We pepper the trainings with low stress Q&As.

GoLeanSixSigma.com also does a great job of inserting a sense of humor into the material and that turns out to be another bonus for you because according to the New York Times, “tests serve students best when they’re integrated into the regular business of learning and the stakes are not make or break.”

How Certification Helps Improve Your Knowledge

So although the Certification Exams are ostensibly created to establish documented proof you took the Training, another benefit is that they help plant the DMAIC method and its accompanying toolkit firmly into your thought processes. The article points out: “The fact of improved retention after a quiz – called the testing effect or the retrieval practice effect – makes the learning stronger or embeds it more securely in memory.”

“The fact of improved retention after a quiz – called the testing effect or the retrieval practice effect – makes the learning stronger or embeds it more securely in memory.”

For many, just the idea of an exam is reason enough to break into a cold sweat and unconsciously forget any log-on information that would bring you to the dreaded test. But now that you know it’s key to learning and retention you can approach it differently.

Taking the exam won’t just prove you’re a Green Belt or a Yellow Belt, it will make you a better one!

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner & Executive Advisor at GoLeanSixSigma.com. For over 25 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.