LEARN RELENTLESSLY: The Forgetting Curve and the Value of Spaced Repetition

“In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” ~  Eric Hoffer

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To thrive in a world of accelerating change, we must continually explore new realities (for situational awareness) and expand our repertoire of knowledge and skills (for competence and confidence). That’s a tall order. To fill it, we need to Learn Relentlessly.  

Our Recall Roadblock: The Forgetting Curve

In 1895, a German psychologist, Herman Ebbinghaus, published pioneering research on memory. His most famous finding was how rapidly our ability to recall deteriorates. What Ebbinghaus discovered is known as The Forgetting Curve, and it is a central challenge for learning in the 21st century.

The 2-minute video below explains The Forgetting Curve and how to overcome it.

Overcoming The Forgetting Curve

Remembering is not just about the number of repetitions. Reliable recall requires space between the repetitions. In other words, you can’t just study a Knowledge Byte™ ten times in one day and expect a reliable recall. Why not?

When new knowledge is already top-of-mind, no mental work is needed to recall it. But when the new knowledge is reinforced at regular intervals, the brain has to reconstruct that memory, strengthening it like a muscle.


A Fact About Our Future

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” — Alvin Toffler

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About Leland Russell

Leland Russell is the co-author of Winning In FastTime®, a highly-acclaimed book about leading strategic action. He delivers the best ways to strive and thrive in the New Normal, serving clients as a Strategic Advisor and Leadership Coach. GEO Group Strategic Services, the consulting firm Leland founded in 1991, has a stellar track record with Fortune 500 organizations, mid-size firms, and non-profits. GEO"s typical clients are leaders and mission-critical teams.

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