Header menu link for other important links
Acquisition and retention of learning: use of stories in executive development program
Published in Emerald Publishing
Volume: 30
Issue: 5
Pages: 7 - 10


The purpose of the paper is to examine the role of stories in the acquisition and retention of learning over a longer period in case of adult learners over 25 years in age. It compares recall of stories over concepts in two time frames and thus tries to measure the decay in memory.


The study was conducted on the participants of executive development programs (EDP) conducted by a premier business school of India between April 2014 and March 2015. Participants who have attended a session on leadership conducted by the author, as a part of their EDP, were selected for the study. A total of 259 participants responded, of which 105 belonged to time frame 1 having attended the program between three and nine months, and 154 belonged to time frame 2 having attended the program more than nine months but less than 15 months of the date of data collection.


Even after a gap of more than three months, 75 per cent of participants were able to recall two or more stories, whereas only 50 per cent of the respondents could recall two or more issues; 95 per cent of them could identify one story and its clear linkage with the issue discussed. A comparative study of decay in memory in recalling issues over stories in two time frames reveals that decay in issues was between two and four times of stories.

Research limitations/implications

To argue about greater retention value of learning, a comparative study of sessions conducted on the same theme with the use of story and without the use of story would be useful. A further research would also be useful to study whether improved recall translates into any change in behavior.

Practical implications

The study is useful for trainers, as well as for corporate.


The study for the first time has captured the retention of learning over a longer period and in case of adult learners over 25 years in age. No study has captured decay of memory in recalling stories over issues in two time frames.

About the journal
JournalData powered by TypesetDevelopment and Learning in Organizations
PublisherData powered by TypesetEmerald Publishing
Open AccessNo