What is it?
A 19th Century German Psychologist named Hermann Ebbinghaus pioneered the experimental study of memory and he is most famous for his discovery of The Forgetting Curve.
In one of his experiments, he recorded his memorisation of nonsense syllables and tested what he could remember after various time periods.
When he recorded the results on a graph, he found that his memory of the syllables declined over time — producing a curved line. This means that unless we periodically review new information we have learned, our memory of it will decline over time.
Its impact on businesses
What we remember will not only be affected by how often we review it, but also the following factors:
· How difficult the material is to understand
· How meaningful it is to the learner
· How the material was learned e.g. online course, video, workshop, etc.
· How stressed the learner is and how much sleep they’re getting
Inadequate training can contribute to problems in a stressful workplace, that could cost the UK economy £33.4–43.0 billion per year, and lost tax and national insurance revenue of £10.8 — £14.4 billion per year.
To successfully train employees it’s important to consider all of the above factors in your organisation’s Learning and Development strategy because they are more likely to use and remember training tools designed for them.
5 ways employers can counter The Curve of Forgetting
1. Make learning accessible — If employees can review what they have learned on a regular basis, they’re less likely to forget the content they have learned and be sent away for training again. For example, the How Do I app can be used with NFC stickers that can be accessed at any time with a simple tap of your phone.
2. Use learning tools that were designed with a human-centered approach. We have a guide for using human-centered design in e-learning and how you can design e-training around your employees’ schedules, their learning styles, etc.
3. Teach managers about The Curve of Forgetting and ask them to train colleagues with this theory in mind. Managers may become more likely to pick courses, workshops and training tools that encourage colleagues to regularly review what they learn.
4. Present employees opportunities to use the knowledge they have gained in a safe environment. Depending on what their role is, this may not always be possible for employees, but practicing their new skills could give them more confidence in doing the job, delivering a service or helping customers — which is important for giving clients confidence in your organisation.
5. Introduce a workplace mentoring scheme. When a usually senior employee mentors a junior employee, they develop an ongoing relationship that can last for a long time and pass on knowledge and advice through regular meetings. This model for learning could be perfect for defending against The Forgetting Curve.
Drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can make your training and onboarding more accessible.
ZEINAB ALI — DIGITAL MARKETING AND PROJECT ASSISTANT FOR HOW DO I?
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