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Defeating the Forgetting Curve

Understanding the Forgetting Curve

Did you know our brains have a massive storage capacity – close to a million gigabytes? For comparison, if the brain worked like a TV recorder, that would be enough to hold around three million hours of TV shows. 

So, with all this memory storage, why are we constantly forgetting what was said in yesterday’s brainstorming session or what was taught at the conference last week? How can we remove the disconnect between learning and the point of practice? The Forgetting Curve is the key.


The Struggle Is Real

We have all experienced how forgetting can be frustrating, and we know that many factors like stress and sleep affect our brains and, ultimately, our memory retention. We have heard all the different tips and tricks of what works for others – mnemonic devices, writing it down, visual cues, better organization, etc. But, there’s more at play when it comes to how we can best recall new knowledge. 

A psychologist who focused on memory research, Hermann Ebbinghaus, developed what is known as the Forgetting Curve. This memory model is a visual representation that showcases the ways information can fade over time when there is no additional attempt to retain or reinforce it. With that, it is documented that we forget approximately 75% of what we learn within six days. Our brains are selective and have limited capacity, so sometimes they can be choosy when deciding to choose pieces of information to remember, and this naturally accelerates the Forgetting Curve. 


Mastering Your Memory

There’s little doubt that keeping your memory sharp can set you up for long-term career success. A strong memory not only allows you to recall previously acquired knowledge but also gives you the ability to tap into past experiences which can lead to greater adaptability in your role and career progression. Without reinforcing our learning, our ability to retain the information can take a steep nosedive, and actionable steps like situational learning help create skills.


To counter the effects of the Forgetting Curve and to improve long-term retention of information, different strategies can be adopted such as: 

  • Spaced Learning promotes breaking up learning sessions over time rather than cramming all the information into a single session. By revisiting and reviewing the material at increasing intervals and learning at the point of practice, it helps to strengthen your memory and improve long-term retention.
  • Microlearning empowers individuals to enhance their learning by focusing their education and growth through the help of compact lessons that are typically in short form (often just a few minutes), such as self-paced e-learning, podcasts, videos, and more, which are easy to digest within an already busy schedule. 
  • Coaching provides a chance to acquire and put fresh skills into practice. Investing in learning skills at the right moment, when they can be immediately applied, significantly increases the chances of seamlessly integrating the acquired knowledge.


These strategies, when incorporated with the help of digital tools that are designed for flexibility and customization, can benefit learners of all different backgrounds and roles. It’s important to make training as relevant to the learner as possible. 


Empowering Long-Term Knowledge Retention with Skillibrium

Skillibrium plays a vital role in mitigating the effects of the Forgetting Curve, supporting GTM teams as they maintain and build upon their knowledge over time. Grow together



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