Forgetting Curve & its Impact

Forgetting Curve & its Impact

Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve

You may have spent countless hours developing content and designing eLearning courses, but it won’t matter if your learners can’t retain what they’ve learned. This is a challenge for L&D pros. The forgetting curve shows how memory declines over time when not used. You must understand the forgetting curve and its impactful tactics to overcome this challenge. This article explains the forgetting curve psychology so your learners can achieve their goals.

What Is the Forgetting Curve?

Hermann Ebbinghaus developed the forgetting curve as a mathematical formula in 1885. It demonstrates how quickly knowledge is lost over time if we don’t make an effort to keep it. According to some studies, humans tend to forget about 50% of new information an hour after learning it. Within 24 hours, that rises to an average of 70%.

The forgetting curve shows how memory retention decreases over time and how information is lost when no effort is made to retain it. In a matter of days or weeks, people tend to forget half of the information they’ve just learned unless they consciously review it, according to a typical forgetting curve graph. The forgetting curve supports transience, one of the seven types of memory failures, which is the forgetting process that happens over time.

The eLearning Forgetting Curve

The brain can perform the most difficult tasks, store enormous amounts of data, and is the most powerful source of memory that acts as a knowledge bank. However, the weak link of the brain is none other than memory retention.

Simply put, the forgetting curve makes it possible for what we learn to not stick in our minds. Because memory overload prevents us from assimilating and retaining information for later use, even the most effective eLearning experiences will be ineffective.

Forgetting Curve Fig

Fig: Forgetting Curve

According to Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve research, the most significant drop in retention occurs almost immediately after learning new information. Therefore, Ebbinghaus said the best way to beat the forgetting curve is to instantly and frequently apply new knowledge and follow learning reinforcement periodically.

This triggers long-term memory storage in the brain. As a trainer, there are other effective ways to improve retention and combat the forgetting curve, which you will see in the later sections of this article.

Five Useful Tips to beat the Forgetting Curve

The forgetting curve is governed by several important principles, according to Ebbinghaus’ research:

It is simpler for learners to remember new material if it is connected to situations in the real world. They need meaningful information to retain; otherwise, they will forget it more quickly.

The time it takes to absorb information increases noticeably when more learning material is involved.

Learners typically find it easier to re-learn information than to learn it for the first time. Additionally, the time it takes to forget information increases with each repetition.

Learners can learn more effectively when information is absorbed gradually over a more extended period rather than all at once.

After a particular course, learners begin to forget what they learned. In actuality, this is when forgetting happens most quickly. But as time passes, forgetting will become less rapid.

Forgetting Curve list

The Forgetting Curve: Combating It

Training frequently involves both parties. The training managers are also on a discovery journey to find a training solution that benefits their learners. Knowledge is power, as with so many other things. We can take action now that we understand how memory functions! Here are 4 strategies you can use in your training programs to better use spaced repetition.

  1. Consistently reinforce training

    Ebbinghaus found that building new knowledge on existing knowledge makes remembering easier. The rate of decline decreases each time you reinforce the training. According to the testing effect, a person’s memory will get stronger after testing. As part of a learning campaign, staging frequent training interventions helps the information become more ingrained through active recall.

    If you foster a learning culture within your company, learners are more likely to prioritize training and retain pertinent information. You can strengthen learning and improve knowledge retention by holding training events frequently. This can be done by developing interesting course material with a great UX and distributing it via an intuitive. Paradiso Nudge or Google Whisper promotes the reinforcing learning with microlearning aka bite-sized-contents for effective memory retention.

  2. Make training and content clear

    Make the information initially more digestible. It’s simpler to forget or completely miss the meaning of something you learn from an essay or article. Try to visualize your data with a diagram or make a video that explains the learning objective. Even better, work on writing the shorter copy by editing your longer articles and assets and attempting to delete any unnecessary text. Now, you can divide the article into several steps for action and promote each separately as a small piece of educational content that they can use in their day-to-day work schedules.

  3. Enhance the relevance and accessibility of the content

    A pre-made learning resource won’t have the same effect as one specially made. Never lose sight of your organization’s primary goal—the Epic Meaning—in any training you develop. This functions in two ways: first, the more pertinent the training, the simpler it is to remember; second, the shared emphasis steadily promotes the behaviors crucial to your business.

    Making courses convenient for learners is key to retaining training content. They should be able to train anytime, anywhere. mLearning comes into play here. Mobile-responsive LMSs help learners learn and retain information. If they can access their courses on the bus to work or while waiting for a client for lunch, they’ll have a better chance of recalling and refreshing their knowledge.

  4. Promote interactive training

    Active participation promotes learning more than passive observation does. Your learners will lose focus and drift off if you don’t give them a chance to engage with the material. On the other hand, the learner will be engaged and perhaps even enjoy the training if gameplay components are included.

    Engagement in courses improves completion rates and information retention. Remember the forgetting curve when planning course content. But how? Start with digestible information. Reading mountains of text reduces learner concentration and retention. Instead, use videos, images, and webinars to keep your learners interested. Better yet, encourage active participation rather than passive observation.

    Gamification is another way to combat forgetting. It uses game mechanics to motivate eLearning learners. Because it’s interactive and engages learners, they’ll retain more information.

  5. Spaced Learning

    To understand what’s learned, consider two things: time and repetition. Spaced learning is one of the best ways to reduce the learning curve. Spaced learning helps learners retain information, reshaping the forgetting curve. As a result, spaced learning helps organizations retain skills and boost long-term productivity.

    Spaced learning? It’s a learning method where learners learn the material in a timed session and take a break afterwards. Spaced learning strengthens memory retention because the learner reviews the information to retain it. The learner practices retrieving learned information by solving problems, taking exams, etc. This helps fight the forgetting curve.

    eLearning can use spaced learning. Like Google whisper and Paradiso Nudge it becomes possible to use spaced repetition to reinforce learning. The spacing can be within a single course module or scheduled hours, days, or weeks apart. By using bite-sized content and demonstrating the required information repeatedly in creative ways, learners are more likely to absorb it.

Final Thoughts

According to the forgetting curve, keep lessons brief and offer follow-up learning to avoid memory overload. Disseminating learning takes time. Instead of holding one long online training session yearly, have several shorter ones. This prevents cognitive overload and helps learners digest and retain information.

Any eLearning course or online training event aims to teach new skills and knowledge. Using the forgetting curve in eLearning design and development, you can create memorable and effective eLearning experiences that your audience won’t forget.

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