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Don’t you forget about me – the forgetting curve and why it matters

by | Apr 25, 2023

The ‘forgetting curve’ is a concept that was first introduced by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus in the late 19th century.

It’s a fascinating phenomenon that sheds light on the human brain’s peculiar relationship with retaining information and refers to the idea that when we learn something new, we gradually forget it over time unless we make an effort to remember it.

According to the forgetting curve, within the first hour of learning something new, we forget as much as 50% of the information we just learned. Within 24 hours, we may forget up to 70% of what we learned, and within a week, we may forget up to 90% of what we learned.

Picture this: You attend a seminar, webinar, or training session brimming with valuable insights and knowledge. However, as time passes, you notice that much of what you learned starts to fade away from your memory. This is where the forgetting curve comes into play.

This is pretty terrifying news if you run a training company! But the good news is that we have designed our creativity training and in fact all of our courses and workshops, with this information in mind, and it is where microlearning comes in. Microlearning is designed to combat the forgetting curve by presenting information in small, bite-sized pieces that are easy to remember. By breaking down complex information into smaller chunks, learners can better retain the information they learn.

Additionally, microlearning can be used to support spaced repetition, which involves spacing out learning sessions to help learners remember what they’ve learned. By reinforcing learning over time, spaced repetition can help learners remember more of what they’ve learned and combat the effects of the forgetting curve.

We’ve designed our e-learning and as much as we can, our face-to-face training too, to adapt to this concept and to help our learners to remember what we share. Our e-learning courses, devised during lockdown, are creativity training lite – 25 bite size lessons of up to 10 minutes per lesson, focussing on a key area.

Here are some of the ways we work to ensure that our creativity training lasts!

We encourage our clients to take our e-learning alongside any of our face to face training as it can be a powerful tool in combating the forgetting curve and enhancing knowledge retention. Here’s how e-learning can help:

  1. Interactive and Engaging Content: Our e-learning (and lots of our webinars too) have multimedia elements, interactive quizzes and gamification techniques. These features captivate learners’ attention, making the learning experience more memorable and enjoyable. When learners are actively engaged, it helps combat the forgetting curve by increasing their focus and motivation to retain the information.
  2. Self-Paced Learning: This is a biggie as of course e-learning allows your learners to progress at their own pace. They can revisit modules or sections whenever needed, reinforcing their learning and addressing any gaps in understanding. This flexibility enables learners to engage in spaced repetition, a technique known to enhance long-term memory retention.
  3. Microlearning and chunking: Our e-learning courses present information in bite-sized modules following the principle of microlearning. Breaking down complex topics into smaller, manageable chunks aids in knowledge retention. Learners can focus on one concept at a time, master it, and then build upon it. This approach aligns with the brain’s capacity to absorb and retain information effectively.
  4. Multimedia: We use videos, images, infographics, and interactive diagrams. Visual aids enhance learning and memory recall. By presenting information in multiple formats, e-learning leverages different learning styles and strengthens memory connections, making it easier for learners to retrieve and retain the information.
  5. Reinforcement through Assessments: Our e-learning includes quizzes, assessments, and interactive exercises throughout. These reinforce learning by requiring learners to actively recall and apply the knowledge they’ve acquired. Regular assessment and feedback provide opportunities for learners to identify areas that require further review and solidify their understanding.

By leveraging the interactive nature of e-learning, individuals can actively combat the forgetting curve.

We apply a lot of these methods to our face to face training too.

If there are some people who can’t make training on the day or the webinar, we ask someone in the group to nominate themselves to do a ‘teach back’ to the missing delegate as nothing ingrains learning like having to teach it to someone else.

We also ask people to team up with a learning buddy to discuss how they’ve implemented their learning a few week’s after a training session, and we get people to schedule their actions and key takeouts too.

Talk to us when you book about how we can continue to support your learning and development aims for your group. We’re all so busy that it can feel like a chore to be tasked with ‘the next thing’ after a training session but using some of these tactics could be the way to really embed the learning rather than make it a distant memory.

Forget Me Not Image by Christiane from Pixabay

Ready to dive in and find out more about how we bring our understanding of learning to life with interactive, sticky, fun and practical workshops? Discover the programmes and resources we offer to empower your team to thrive here.