Power of Forgetting Curve

The Forgetting Curve is part of cognitive psychology and it reveals the secret of human memory. How can we make use of it and make improvements for ourselves?

Forgetting information is inevitable, and it is not a process that the brain consciously makes a decision on, hence it can be infuriating or inconvenient to be constantly forgetting about important information all the time. For a student that is studying for multiple subjects and cramped up exams, it can be very stressful to forget what you've revised for all week. By understanding a bit more about why and how the brain forgets information, we can take measures to prevent this from happening.

What is the Forgetting Curve?

The Forgetting Curve is part of cognitive psychology. It is an influential memory model that helps to demonstrate how memories are lost over time, and what actions can be done to reduce the loss of knowledge retention over time, so that we can retain and remember memories more effectively.

What can we do to prevent ourselves from forgetting?

  1. Spaced Learning
  2. Spaced Learning requires the individual to go back and revise the information that was learnt multiple times, over a prolonged period of time. A graph of Spaced Learning can be seen in the image below.
Forgetting Curve
  1. Reviewing memory extends the time it will take to forget the learnt information, and creates a curve that is not as steep, and the memory retention line will eventually plateau at a higher percentage.
  2. For students who are revising, it may be hard to keep track of what subjects you've just covered and the right amount to revise for, therefore it might be convenient to turn to digitalised revision platforms that can assist you with this.
  3. Over-learningOver-learning is where you learn more than 100% of what you need to know or when something is practiced more than what is required to normally memorise it. For example, when an individual learns 100% of the knowledge needed, the percentage retained after several days may be 50%, but when 150% is learnt, the percentage retained for the same time frame can be 75%. For teachers, instead of teaching only whats on the syllabus, you can go into deeper explanation of certain concepts. As for students, it would be more
  4. Make information meaningfulConnecting newly learnt information to existing memory or important events can help with memory retention. If the information is important, they you need to do everything you can to make the material you learn clear, relevant and purposeful, and establish a strong reason for retaining it. It is likely that the more the brain understands that the information will benefit you in the long run, the more that set of information will be prioritised. By making information meaningful, it can trigger several different aspects like emotions or schemas. For example, teaching students mathematics and how it can be applied to something that is physically visible to them can help the retain the concept afterwards.

All preceding methods that help memory retention can be time consuming, and for teachers it adds extra workload to constantly revisit topics that were previously taught, to teach more than what is already expected in your current academic syllabus, or to give a background or example of everything taught. By referring to online platforms it can reduce the teachers workload and still prevent students from forgetting. With Fan{task}tic, teachers can assign students revision on topics in a timely manner to help them revisit topic information, while not adding extra and tedious workload for teachers. Fan{task}tic also has a unique algorithm that suggests questions based on learning frequency, to optimise the best retention time and revision.