Ever heard of the learning and forgetting curve? It’s a theory that attempts to explain how people learn and how quickly they forget new information.
The curve goes something like this: After learning something new, your memory will drop dramatically at first. Then, it will stabilize for a while. After that, it will slowly decline over time. Eventually, you’ll forget most of what you learned.
This graph is based on the research of Hermann Ebbinghaus (1885), who was one of the first psychologists to study memory in depth. He also came up with the idea of “forgetting curves” as a way to illustrate his findings about how quickly people forget new information.
He tested his theory by memorizing lists of nonsense syllables, which are strings of letters that don’t mean anything in particular (like “MZZXKQI”). Ebbinghaus came up with a formula that explains how the learning and forgetting curve works.
It looks like this: Where A is the number of items learned, D is the number of days since you learned them, and B is the number of items you can still remember. This formula shows that at first, your memory will drop quickly. After that, it will level off for a while before slowly declining over time.
But what does this have to do with eLearning? And how can you use it to make your courses more memorable?
Let’s find out…
Use the Learning and Forgetting Curve to Make Your eLearning Memorable
First, let’s take a look at the learning and forgetting curve graph again:
In the graph above, you can see that the number of items you can remember (B) drops quickly after learning them (A). After that, it levels off for a while before slowly declining over time.
In this section, we’ll discuss some ways you can use this information to make your eLearning courses more memorable. These strategies will help you create courses that people will actually want to watch more than once. And if they watch them more than once, they’ll learn more from them and remember what they learned.
How to Make eLearning Memorable using The Learning and Forgetting Curve:
1. Test Your Course
If you want to know how well your course is working, you need to test it. You can do this by having your audience complete a short survey after they finish watching your course.
Here are some questions you might ask: How much did you learn from this course? How much will you remember tomorrow? How likely are you to recommend this course to a friend?
What was the most interesting thing you learned in this course? What was the least interesting thing you learned in this course? Was there anything confusing about this course?
If so, what was confusing about it? What would make this course better for future viewers?
This will give you an idea of how well your eLearning courses are working and what people like and dislike about them. It will also help you figure out what to improve on next time.
For example, if people say they didn’t learn much from your eLearning courses, then it’s probably because the information wasn’t presented clearly enough or there wasn’t enough repetition of important concepts. To create effective eLearning courses that people will actually remember, it’s important to have a good understanding of how the learning and forgetting curve works.
2. Include Lots of Repetition
Repeating important concepts over and over again is one of the best ways to ensure that people will remember what they learned.
You can do this by: Showing a concept once, then asking people to try it out for themselves (examples). Showing a concept once, then showing it again with more detail (more examples). Showing a concept multiple times from different angles (video, text, etc.).