The Forgetting Curve - what is is and how our training helps you overcome it
Have you ever returned from a training course, full of enthusiasm and wanting to make a difference to how things were before? And then life takes over. Things get so busy that you don’t have time to put your learning into practise. Before you know it, the things you learnt have disappeared from your consciousness. You’ve become another victim of the Forgetting Curve.
What is The Forgetting Curve?
The principles of the Forgetting Curve (reference: Hermann Ebbinghaus) are easy to remember. It’s obvious that as time passes, we forget things. Our brains have only so much capacity. As we are bombarded by literally thousands of pieces of information every waking moment, our memories are overwritten. Just like our laptops, our heads get locked up and cannot properly function. Some research suggests that only 10 %to 12% of learning is retained after one week. Scary.
The Forgetting Curve has implications for training and coaching organisations like ourselves at Beyond Theory. Our mission is to enable people to learn how to think, feel and act differently. The thought of our participants forgetting what they have learnt is perceived as a genuine threat to the training we provide. Our reputation could be damaged if our clients believe that the learning has been lost.
How do we help you overcome The Forgetting Curve?
At Beyond Theory we have always focused on delivering training that is engaging as well as insightful. This creates energy and enthusiasm to put learning to work. However, we needed to overcome the risk of transfer of learning being lost. Here’s what we have done:
Created our unique learning portal
A key part of our learning experience is our unique learning portal. Located on our website, each participant is given access to their own portal. This supports our course participants and their managers throughout the learning experience with pre- and post-course activities.
Pre-course activitiesThe learning portal is where participants access their pre-course work. This can be a video to watch and record their views or perhaps a self-assessment questionnaire to complete. Participants access their workbooks as well as viewing course content ahead of their course, ideally to share with their manager in their pre-course briefing meeting.
The pre-course activities are very much about getting participants and their managers excited and focused on what they are going to learn.
The post-course element is what tackles the Forgetting Curve head on. Following each course (or each module of a course) participants are invited to complete an action plan. This is to enable the participants to reflect on the key learning points they have taken away and their plan to implement their learning.
Participants are encouraged to share their action plan with their manager as part of their post-course debrief. This is an important activity so that they can enlist their manager’s support in applying their learning at work and keeping the learning conversation going.
Participants also receive feedback and coaching tips on their action plans from their course trainer. The purpose is to remind participants once again of what they have learnt and how the learning can be applied. Relevant blog articles and video content are also recommended by the trainer.
The post course activity does not end here. Depending on what’s been agreed with the client organisation (or the manager sponsoring the training) participants are invited to complete a video blog a few weeks later to tell their story of how they have applied their learning. Practical examples are provided along with a description of the impact the training has had. This brings learning back to the surface, extending life of the learning experience.
Support for Senior Managers and HR Managers
Senior managers and HR Managers are provided access to the learning portal where they can track participants’ progress as well as view action plans, video blogs and trainers’ feedback. These are discussed at our client review meetings.
Further support for our longer, modular training programmesOur longer training programmes contain a series of modules. To help combat the Forgetting Curve, participants are required to deliver a presentation to senior leadership and/or HR to review their learning and tell how they have applied it to:
- Increase productivity and/or
- Decrease costs and/or
- Improve levels of service.
Our learning portal and its evaluation activities have been purposefully designed to improve the learning experience. Easy to navigate, it helps deliver a blended approach to learning that supports our mission of enabling people to learn how to think, feel and act differently. Managers and HR Managers love it too as they see the application of learning increase.
Director and senior consultant