Ebbinghaus forgetting curve describes the decrease in ability of the brain to retain memory over time. The issue was hypothesized by Hermann. In the field of psychology the term forgetting curve describes how the ability of the brain to retain information decreases in time. Hermann Ebbinghaus was the. The Forgetting Curve theory is not a myth, it is a genuine phenomena discovered by Hermann Ebbinghaus over years ago and is as relevant today as it was.

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Just wait until the forgetting curve kicks in though eh! The more relevant the training, the easier it is to retain and remember.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Articles lacking in-text citations from November All articles lacking in-text citations Articles needing additional references from December All articles needing additional references Articles containing German-language text All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from December InHermann Ebbinghaus did this exact experiment — and his results are widely accepted as a general theory for how we learn and retain information.

If you lost that piece of paper, would you remember the phone number an hour later? In his groundbreaking research he studied on himself the memorization and forgetting of nonsense three letter words. What is however drastically different is the speed at which you forget. Amnesia anterograde childhood post-traumatic psychogenic retrograde transient global Decay theory Forgetting curve Interference theory Memory inhibition Motivated forgetting Repressed memory Retrieval-induced forgetting Selective amnesia Weapon focus.

In the late 19 th century, German psychologist, Hermann Ebbinghaus tested his memory over various periods of time. People can recall stronger memories for a longer period than weaker ones.

5 Ways to Challenge the Forgetting Curve

I used to forget a lot. According to research, information should be repeated within the first forgettinh hours of learning to reduce the rate of memory loss. He further hypothesized that the basal forgetting rate differs little between individuals.


I tended to cram everything into my brain before an exam only to forget it the day after. Try running the same test 2 days after the course and see what results you get.

You can see from the forgetting curve plotted below just how severe evbinghaus the rate of forgetting. So, how can you apply this to your eLearning content? As you can see in the image the forgetting curve becomes flatter and less steep with every additional review, provided the review is made at the correct time see spacing effect.

A related concept to the forgetting curve is strength of memorywhich states that the time period up to which a person can recall any memory is based on the strength of the particular memory. Confabulation False memory Hindsight bias Imagination inflation List of memory biases Memory conformity Mere-exposure effect Misattribution of memory Misinformation effect Source-monitoring error Wernicke—Korsakoff syndrome.

There are two primary factors that affect our level of retention for items in our long term memory:. What can you do to improve your memory? There is one caveat though: If you want more ways to improve retention in your training, check out this article for a few handy tips. It was later discovered that higher original learning also lead to slower loss in memory.

Ebbinghaus also discovered another phenomenon called overlearning during his study on forgetting curve. Also some people have naturally a better capacity to use memory hooks and other mnemonic techniques to remember more easily and relate to information, which they know already. Learners are more likely to engage in training and retain relevant knowledge if you create a learning culture within your organization.

Others, however, have made an argument that recollections of events recorded in different years have shown sizeable amount of variations. This article needs additional citations for verification.

A typical graph of the forgetting curve purports to show that humans tend to halve their memory of newly learned knowledge in a matter of days or weeks unless they consciously review the learned material. By using this website, you agree with our cookies policy. The good news is, there are a number of methods you can use in your eLearning courses to help your learners challenge the forgetting curve.


By using bite-sized ebbbinghaus of forgettihg and demonstrating the required information repeatedly in different, creative ways, like blended learninglearners are more likely to absorb the information.

The stronger the memory the longer you are able to recall the information. Ensuring your LMS is mobile compatible makes learning and retaining information easier for your learners. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Inan attempt to replicate the forgetting curve with one study subject has shown the experimental results similar to Ebbinghaus’ original data.

The forgetting curve

The stronger the memory, the longer period of time that a person is able to recall it. Graphing his results, he developed a formula for how long items remain in our memory. Forgetting Curve Theory — Ebbinghaus. For some information the interval can become several years. Gamification can be used to motivate your learners to complete the required learning.

How easy is it to relate the information with facts, which you know already? Views Read Edit View history. R refers to memory retention, S refers to relative strength of memory and t refers to time. Learners have a better chance of recollecting and refreshing their knowledge if they can access their courses when and where they like; on the bus to work, or while waiting on a client for a lunch meeting.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: A Contribution to Experimental Psychology. When it comes to deciding whether to store particular pieces of information permanently, the brain can be quite choosy. He describes it like this:.