Combatting the Forgetting Curve


Lauren Taylor

Did you know…

In as little as one month, people forget around 80% of what they’ve learned in training.

In 1885 German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus performed a memory study on himself and came to find out that he had forgotten nearly 90% of everything he had learned within just a month. This has since been coined the “forgetting curve.” Now there has been many studies done to back Ebbinghaus’ theory.

The “forgetting curve” can simply be summarized as we use it or lose it. Taking in information without application results in an extremely high rate of loss. Now sure, there are several factors that go into what or how much is retained. However, there are a few factors that will help to increase knowledge retention. These include interactivity(muscle memory), relevance, spacing out learning into smaller chunks, and periodic review of content. This last one, is the biggest impactor when it comes to retaining knowledge.

forgetting curve

Implementing periodic review of content has proven to drastically reduce knowledge loss. The more frequent & consistent review of the same content, the higher retention rates. Therefore, many LMS’s are incorporating retention features that will prompt the learner with short bits of the training after the initial training has been completed. Forcing them to recall & re-learn the information after the initial introduction.

We’ve seen an increasing number of teams adopt this mentality as well — by utilizing iorad tutorials in their LMS courses along with having the short tutorials accessible in the extension/widget across the different applications to reference at the point of need. It’s been neat to see this evolve. Now iorad is being used both in the initial course training but also in the everyday business workflow.

Below Chauncy shares how the Quantum Metric team has implemented iorad to train.

“Yes, we use the longer detailed iorads in courses, and shorter ones in-product. I love to leverage the try steps parameters within embeds mid course as well. Just as a refresher. Great validation of these methods.”

We’ve also been seeing teams embed tutorials initially in “Watch it” mode, then little ways into the course “Try it” mode, and later in the course “Quiz” mode. We’ve heard good feedback that it is helping to reinforce learning and has been well received by their learners.

Taking it the next step farther, more teams are using iorad in-app. For the in application help — our users have been narrowing down what tutorials are listed within the widget based on the page URL structure. That way — there are tutorials both in course & in app at the time of NEED.

Both of these methods of prompting short bits of information review within the Learning Management System & also having short tutorials accessible in the application combine well to greatly increase learning retention & relevancy for your learners!