Home Education The Forgetting Curve: What Is It and How to Overcome It?

The Forgetting Curve: What Is It and How to Overcome It?

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Starting from early childhood and all throughout our life, we keep learning. Every single day we receive lots of new, valuable information. But how well can we retain it?

A good memory is a key to retaining knowledge. But unfortunately, not all of us have a naturally good memory, and, at the same time, we all have something called the forgetting curve that can hold us back from remembering the information we’ve learned.

If you are wondering how to remember things better, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, an expert academic writer from the custom essay writing service essayservice.com writing platform for students explains what the forgetting curve is and how one can overcome it. Let’s dive in!

The Forgetting Curve Definition

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Although it is easy to understand what we are going to talk about in this article from the name of this term, not everyone has a clear understanding of what the forgetting curve means.

So, what does it stand for?

The term itself dates back to the late 19th century. It was introduced by a well-known German psychologist – Hermann Ebbinghaus. Once, Ebbinghaus got interested in the mechanism of our memory. The psychologist studied his own memory over different periods of time and collected data from various tests.

As a result of his studies, Ebbinghaus created a graph that displayed how the knowledge he was able to retain dropped from 100% to under 20% in just seven days. What he discovered is basically the nature of memory loss over time. Ebbinghaus called it the forgetting curve. But he didn’t stop there.

After discovering the exponential decline of memory, the psychologist also defined the two key factors that affected the level of knowledge retention. These factors are:

  • The initial strength of the memory – Ebbinghaus found that stronger and more relevant memories can be retained for a longer period.
  • The time that has passed since the information was received – According to Ebbinghaus, people forget an average of 90% of learned information within just one month.

Now, you should have a better idea of what the forgetting curve is. If you are reading this to write an academic paper on this topic, don’t forget that you can always get a professional essay writing service to write my essay and get your paper done by real pros. But if you are interested in studying the concept yourself, read on to find out if there are any ways to overcome the forgetting curve.

How to Overcome the Forgetting Curve

Looking at the definition of the forgetting curve and the insights Ebbinghaus discovered through his studies, it seems that retaining information for longer periods is nearly impossible. So then, how can we ensure the effectiveness of education?

The good news is that there are working ways to combat the forgetting curve. Below are some tips that should help you retain information better.

1. Make It Clear

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One of the biggest reasons why we forget the learned information is that it was not very clear in the first place. If you learn something that is not very easy to absorb or that comes in large chunks, for example, from a textbook or an article, you will likely forget it soon enough. However, if you improve clarity, you can also boost retention.

One trick you can use is to split the material into bite-sized pieces. Also, you can try learning the same information in the form of a video, diagrams, and other types of content known to be easier to consume. Lastly, writing a shorter copy of the learned information with your own words also works.

2. Reinforce the Training

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The next tip is quite obvious. To reduce the rate of memory decline, one must reinforce the training regularly. You can retain the information much better through consistent active recall.

3. Make It Interactive

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Numerous studies confirm that people tend to memorize the learned information better when they are actively involved in the studying process rather than when they receive it passively. To use this to your benefit, you should make the material you study more interactive.

Today, there are plenty of ways to interact with the content you are trying to study. For example, there are educational games. By leveraging interactive materials, you can learn the provided information faster and easier and also retain it for a longer time.

4. Make It Relevant

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Finally, as Ebbinghaus discovered, people retain relevant information much better. Therefore, if you want to overcome the forgetting curve, you have to find ways to relate the content you are learning to yourself. The more relevant it will be, the longer you will remember it.

The Bottom Line

Now, each of you should have a clear idea of what the forgetting curve is. At the end of this article, we want to say that the forgetting curve is natural, and everyone has it. So, there is nothing bad if you forget the studied material after some time.

But it’s also not like there is nothing you can do about it. Although everyone has the forgetting curve, everyone can also overcome it. So use the tips from this article to get on the right track!