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Using Forgetting Curve to Optimize Training Efficiency

Using Forgetting Curve to Optimize Training Efficiency

In modern fast-paced world professionals have to keep learning in order to remain competitive. Taking online courses and in-house corporate eLearning helps people obtain new skills, yet applying them immediately is not always possible. A good manager knows that both learning and relearning new skills are needed to keep the team skill set honed.

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Member of the Board, Raccoon Gang

Sergiy has 18 years of experience in eLearning and management. Creating educational programs, career paths, online and offline courses he is making the educational world better as a co-founder of RG.

Using Forgetting Curve to Optimize Training Efficiency

There is a study from German scientist Ebbinghaus conducted back in 1880-1885. His goal was to determine the period of time people keep the unused knowledge in their memory and can use it quickly, without long recalling. He called it the formulae of forgetting and the resulting curve is called the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve.

In short, he concluded that repeating even unused information at some intervals keeps the knowledge retention high, so that forgetting is nearly impossible. It’s important to stress out that forgetting curve for actively used knowledge is much longer than for the unused one, so the skills your team uses on a daily basis remain sharp.

But what about the skills the team does not use at the moment?  Is your team’s current skill set used at peak efficiency? How can this be checked with optimal ROI and time usage? Here are the 4 steps you should make to ensure maximum staff retraining efficiency.

  1. Make reassessment of knowledge.  Once your team completes the online course or in-house training, plan the test. You can even schedule it in 31 days, like in the research above.
  2. Split the team into groups according to the test results. Team members that use the skills will forget less and will be able to take retraining much later, as compared to the ones who do not actively use the gained knowledge.
  3. Form the relearning schedule for each group. Different groups will take retraining at different times, minimizing time and effort spent.
  4. Repeat p.p. 2-3 several times. In a couple of iterations you will create an optimal retraining schedule for your team.

This way, by using the scientific approach and knowledge on human brain performance you can achieve maximum staff retraining efficiency and optimal usage of an existing skill set. If you have more questions or ideas - drop us a line, we are always open for discussion!

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