Don’t Forget About It: How Spaced Repetition and Microlearning Boost Memory
Research on the forgetting curve has revealed some shocking statistics. Within one hour, people will have forgotten an average of 50 % of new information. Within 24 hours, they have forgotten an average of 70 % of the new information, and within a week, they will have forgotten 90 % of it. Of course, it’s not the same for everybody, but it’s still pretty disconcerting.
And this fact is the problem with corporate training – most of it goes to waste. Most of what your employees have learned will be forgotten unless you employ what is known as “spaced repetition.”
What is the forgetting curve?
The forgetting curve is the discovery of a German psychologist, Dr. Hermann Ebbinghaus. Ebbinghaus tracked his memory over various periods and plotted a graph. What the graph showed him is a negative relationship between time and memory. When you first learn something, the information disappears at an exponential rate, i.e., you lose most of it in the first couple of days, after which the rate of loss tapers off.
Just think of the time and money lost for companies who develop training programs for their employees who then forget most of what they have learned. This is where spaced repetition comes to the rescue.
What is spaced repetition?
Spaced repetition leverages a memory phenomenon called the spacing effect, which describes how our brains learn more effectively when we space out our learning over time.
So if you learn and test the same information over an extended period, you are more likely to remember it and for it to become part of your long-term memory. This is facilitated by learning activities like different style quizzes and case studies. As the memory improves, the intervals between repetitions can become longer, until the information becomes part of your long-term memory.
Is there a relationship between spaced repetition and microlearning?
Microlearning is the ideal medium for spaced repetition. Think about it; microlearning provides information in a bite-sized format that is easy to absorb and recall. The same microlearning lesson content can repeatedly be presented in different formats, including infographics, short videos, or 10-question quizzes.
There are already microlearning platforms, like TalentCards, that make use of spaced repetition. The company uses learning cards as a metaphor for micro-learning activities. Each card is self-contained with a message of its own. Combined, the cards cover a complete storyline. This reduces cognitive overload and helps learners to retain new knowledge.
Spaced repetition improves memory also due to the characteristics of microlearning. Microlearning offers content in short spurts that are just long enough that learners can give it their full attention. This fact also contributes to a successful recall of information.
Today’s business environment demands ongoing adjustment and learning. Employees demand training to be able to do the new jobs that are arising. According to the Deloitte report, The Future of Work, 67% of employees believe they must continuously reskill themselves to stay relevant in their careers.
Microlearning can help employees to stay ahead of the employment curve. However, it’s pointless if your company spends millions on training only for employees to forget what they’ve learned. That’s why it’s important to choose a platform like TalentCards, which helps employees to sidestep the forgetting curve through spaced repetition.