Security Awareness Blog

Reinforcement Training - The Halo Effect

Last week I was fortunate to attend the Learning 3.0 Conference which focused on eLearning. I was really impressed by a talk by Dr. Art Kohn on Cognitive Behavior. One of the things he helped me understand is how to best leverage reinforcement training, or what he called booster training. The idea is once a person has learned a certain set of information (or encoded it) that information is quickly lost unless you reinforce the training. My concern has always been how do you quickly reinforce everything you just taught? For example, if you taught fifteen key topics in your security awareness training, how can you quickly reinforce all of them?

It turns out you do not have to. Reinforcement training has something similar to the 'halo' effect. This means if you reinforce people on one key topic related to security awareness, that one topic can also help reinforce other key points For example, with monthly phishing assessments, even though you are reinforcing a key lesson (risks associated with email attacks) you are also reinforcing security in general. Obviously this does not mean you can simplify your entire program to just reinforcing one topic throughout the year, but it does demonstrate the impact of active reinforcement training as part of your program.