A Case for On-going Retention and Reinforcement Training

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The Curve of Forgetting describes how we retain or get rid of information that we take in. 


On Day 1, at the beginning of the course, you go in knowing nothing, or 0%, (where the curve starts at the baseline). At the end of the lecture you know 100% of what you know, however well you know it (where the curve rises to its highest point).

By Day 2, if you have done nothing with the information you learned in that course, did not think about it again, reread it, etc. you will have lost 50%-80% of what you learned. Our brains are continually recording information on a temporary basis: scraps of conversation heard on the sidewalk, what the person in front of you is wearing. Because the data is not necessary and it doesn’t come up again, our brains dump it all off, along with what was learned in the lecture that you do want to hold on to!

By Day 7, we remember even less, and by Day 30, we retain about 2%-3% of the original hour! You may need to re-learn it from scratch.

The good news is that you can change the shape of the curve! Reprocessing the same or directly associated chunks of information sends a big signal to your brain to hold onto that data. When the same concepts are repeated, your brain says, “Oh – there it is again, I better keep that.” When you are exposed to the same information repeatedly, it takes less and less time to “activate” the information in your long-term memory, and it becomes easier for you to retrieve the information when you need it.

Here’s the formula and the case for reinforcing the material: Within 24 hours of getting the information – spend 10 minutes reviewing and you will raise the curve almost to 100% again. A week later (Day 7), it only takes 5 minutes to “reactivate” the same material, and again raise the curve. By Day 30, your brain will only need 2-4 minutes to give you the feedback, “Yes, I know that…”

Often clients feel they can’t possibly make time for a review session every day in their schedules – they have trouble keeping up as it is. This is why self-paced online courses are so valuable. It is a convenient option and an excellent investment of time. If you don’t review, you will need to spend 40-50 minutes re-learning each hour of material later – do you have that kind of time?

The time commitment is well worth it. You will be amazed at the difference ongoing self-paced reinforcement courses make in how much you understand and how well retain material.

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