Overcoming the Forgetting Curve

by Bill Heller

What is the Forgetting Curve?

When we learn something new, our memory immediately begins to fade. Hermann Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve tracks this decline in knowledge retention which, if not reinforced, can drop to 50% or less in a matter of days. But fear not! The Forgetting Curve can be overcome. In this post, we will look at strategies and techniques to retain information for the long term.


Why the Forgetting Curve?

Whether you are pursuing training to level up in your career or simply for your own personal fulfillment, when you retain knowledge, you reduce the need to relearn that material, saving both valuable time and money. It also leads to increased productivity, better performance, and allows you to allocate more time to exploring new opportunities.


Strategies for Overcoming the Forgetting Curve

  1. Continuous Learning and Review

You may breathe a sigh of relief after completing a live instructor-led class (in-person or virtual) or finishing the last module in your self-paced course, but your journey is just beginning. At this point it is crucial to establish habits of continuous learning and regular review to reinforce what you just learned. Setting aside dedicated time to go through course materials as well as your notes ensures that the information stays fresh in your memory.

  1. Spaced Repetition Technique

Spaced repetition (also referred to as spaced learning) involves reviewing information at key moments on the Forgetting Curve. Looking at the Forgetting Curve, for example, there is a sharp drop-off in retention one day after the learning experience. By revisiting the material at this time, you can quickly bring the curve back up. Failure to do so will result in an even more dramatic drop in retention. You will notice that the gaps between each key moment gets longer over time as your memory continually strengthens.

  1. Vary Your Study Methods

Varying your study techniques engages multiple senses and learning modalities and helps to avoid monotony and burnout. How you study is often driven by your preferred learning style (visual, auditory, read & write, or kinesthetic). Embracing different learning styles can provide a more well-rounded and comprehensive understanding of a topic. For example, spending a week in an instructor-led programming class learning about the history of a programming language and the syntax may provide important foundational knowledge. But just as important is getting your hands on the keyboard and actually writing code.


Technology/Tools for Memory Retention

There are thousands of tools out there to help with knowledge retention including virtual flashcards, practice quizzes, and progress trackers.

We created Athena, Skyline’s continuous learning program, to address the Forgetting Curve. Athena provides a variety of self-paced learning materials including videos, boost learning, microlearning, knowledge checks, practice quizzes as well as live Tech Sessions, Mentoring Sessions, and Office Hours delivered by certified Skyline instructors. Visit the Athena page to learn more and request a demo.


Wrapping Up…

By implementing strategies like continuous learning and review, spaced repetition, and varying your study methods, we can conquer the forgetting curve and achieve lasting knowledge retention. Master the art of memory retention and unlock your learning potential.


Check out Skyline’s full Course Catalog and begin your learning journey today!

Related Posts

Close Bitnami banner