Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve | Within 30 Days 80% of Learning is Lost

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Know that Within 30 Days, 80% is Forgotten – comes from the Free Guide – ‘Are you frustrated by training that creates short-term interest but not long-term change?’.

Understand the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve.

In the mid-1800s, a German Psychologist carried out a series of tests to understand how much he remembered over time. He used 3 letter cards and plotted his research. His name was Hermann Ebbinghaus, and his research became known as the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve.

In essence, Hermann identified that we forget over 80% of what we learn within 30 days. That is unless we do something with the learning. For example, repeating the learning will significantly increase our chances of remembering it in the long term.

You know instinctively from when you have attended a 1-day training course. The tutor was great, the course was fabulous, and you took away a great slide deck. Then, 2 weeks late, you look at that nagging slide deck meaning to do something with him and with a swift motion, bang, it’s in the bin. What a shame. 8 hours were spent learning and no behavioural change was achieved.

Action; Work on the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve

The impact for Learners is that they will forget what they have learnt unless they repeat the learning, apply, and/or use it. If the learning simply stays on slides, learners will forget it. Here are 3 ways you can help the Learners to remember more:

  • The day after the training, ask the Learners to teach someone else one thing that they learnt at the event.
  • 10 days after the training, suggest that the Learners make a diary reminder to re-write their notes.
  • 30 days after the training, email the Learners a task related to the learning.
Purple Forgetting Curve Graph for training
Face it, we forget more as time passes


Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve and the Spacing Effect were large contributors to designing Sticky Learning ® because we wanted scientific research to be the driving force behind how we learn best.

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Learning to Learn Blog ArticlesSoft Skills Training ArchivesSticky Learning Articles and ContentTraining ROI Articles and Content

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