First established in the late 19th century by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, the forgetting curve is a mathematical formula that describes the rate at which something is forgotten after it’s learned.
By deconstructing the power of the human mind, the forgetting curve has challenged the opinions of educators for many years with its unique analysis of knowledge-transfer techniques.
— EdSurge (@EdSurge) December 6, 2018
Why is this fundamental for your studies?
As studies have shown, the forgetting curve is rather steep. This means that new information rushing through to your brain could be forgotten a few days later.
Scholars usually compare the curve to panicked exam preparation. When you’re quickly cramming facts and figures into your mind the night before a test, it’s likely that you’ll hold onto that information until the next day but when it doesn’t serve you anymore, you’ll let it go.
This is an essential theory that every teacher who conducts study skills sessions should consider.
By understanding their learners’ memory styles, teachers can tailor their lessons to suit individual requirements.
For instance, do students need a refresher session every week to update their knowledge?
Or perhaps there needs to be an extensive supply of study flashcards to create engaging memory games and for students to boost their academic potential.
The ‘Forgetting Curve’ – Remember to constantly revisit new knowledge for it to ‘stick’. pic.twitter.com/GxV7yr8Zfy
— Redstone Academy (@RedstoneAcademy) December 2, 2018
How to improve your memory
If you’re reading this and can relate to the forgetting curve theory or you feel as though your memory is holding you back in lessons, here are a few effective ways to try and improve your forgetfulness:
Learn to connect new information with what you already know
The knowledge that has remained in your mind has not been affected by the memory curve, so you can connect new data to data that is fully integrated.
Keep activating the information in regular, spaced intervals
Instead of simply re-reading new information, you can try different styles of activation. For example, replying to a question with the data or teaching the information to someone else. By switching up the styles and regularly repeating it, your brain will be forced to deepen its neural connections.
Download memory games or brain testers
We live in an era where free brain training games or memory testing software is easily accessible. Why not make the most of these tools and use them to your academic advantage? By transforming the information transfer process into an engaging activity, there’s a higher chance you’ll remember it all.