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Understanding the Learning Pyramid

Updated: Dec 17, 2023


Understanding the Learning Pyramid: A Guide for Oil and Gas HSE Training

Effective learning and retention of safety knowledge are crucial. The "Learning Pyramid," though its specific origins and percentages may be debatable, offers a useful framework to understand how different learning methods impact knowledge retention. Here's a breakdown tailored for HSE professionals:


1. Reading (10% Retention): Passive reading, like going through safety manuals or guidelines, provides foundational knowledge but with limited retention.

2. Hearing (20% Retention): Listening to safety briefings or lectures is slightly more effective than reading alone but still offers limited retention.

3. Seeing (30% Retention): Utilizing visual aids such as safety diagrams, hazard identification charts, and emergency procedure graphics can enhance learning compared to just reading or listening.

4. Seeing and Hearing (50% Retention): Multimedia presentations, including safety videos or interactive e-learning modules, combine visual and auditory elements, improving knowledge retention.

5. Discussing (70% Retention): Active participation in safety meetings or group discussions about HSE topics encourages deeper understanding and retention.

6. Experiencing (80% Retention): Hands-on learning through practical drills, on-site safety demonstrations, and participatory emergency response exercises. Experiential learning is highly effective for HSE training.

7. Teaching Others (95% Retention): Encouraging employees to teach safety protocols to their peers, perhaps through peer-to-peer training sessions or safety mentorship programs. Teaching requires a comprehensive grasp of safety topics, significantly enhancing retention.


The Learning Pyramid emphasizes the value of active learning methods. In the context of HSE in the oil and gas industry, combining methods such as discussions, practical exercises, and teaching can substantially improve comprehension and retention of crucial safety information.


It’s important to remember that learning styles vary among individuals. A successful HSE training program should offer a blend of different learning methods to cater to these varied preferences and enhance overall safety competence in the workforce.

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