How to Improve Memory Strength and Forget Less!

Did You Know?

Did You Know EbbinghausIn 1885, Hermann Ebbinghaus hypothesised that in humans, the ability to remember new skills or knowledge deteriorates over time. 

In fact, he created a formula which predicts this deterioration with a modern version of that formula as R = e-T/S, where R = memory retention, S = relative strength of memory, T = time and e is the magical Euler’s number (2.71828 rounded).

He found that the memory of a particular piece of new information or skill was 100% at the time of learning, but this declined by up to 40% in the next few days after the learning event, then the deterioration of memory slows down but continues to degrade over time.  The result of his theory/discovery was the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve.1


Factors of Forgetting 

He goes on to state that there are multiple factors that can affect the Forgetting Curve such as:

  1. How meaningful is the information to the individual?

  2. How was it taught or delivered?2

  3. And specific Physiological factors such as stress, amount of sleep, current family issues, etc.

  4. Reinforcement and Repetition

Number 3 is somewhat out of our sphere of influence or control, however we use our unique resources to focus on 1; How meaningful is the information to the individual? and 2. How was it taught or delivered?

How PDT uses a scientific approach to make it meaningful and delivered in the right way to engage participants.

By using the insights provided in the REACH Trainers Companion, which guides our facilitators on  delivering the course to match individual’s preferred learning styles, we immediately start to improve our participant’s memory of that skill or information simply by addressing the first two of Ebbinghaus’s suggested factors.

Improving Memory Strength

Ebbinghaus theorised that memory could be enhanced by using 2 specific techniques:

  1. Memory Representation Using Mnemonic techniques

  2. Repetition of Active Recall

He surmised that by repeating a task, or recalling specific information in specific intervals over time, the ability to remember that task or recall that information was increased and the numbers of required repetitive learning intervals would also decrease over time.

So basically, more repetitive recall tasks, that are practised or delivered closer to the original learning event, would reduce the need for further repetitive learning events over longer periods of time.

Flattening the Forgetting Curve

So, by taking all this information into consideration; that different personality types prefer to learn differently and humans inherently forget information and tasks when they are not reinforced over time, PD Training (PDT) has launched our “Make It Stick” packs for 32 different professional development training courses.

With 10-years’ experience in delivering professional development training, PDT has tested a wide range of tools and techniques to help participants experience improved knowledge transfer and improved productivity skills and our latest products to assist with these goals are the “Make It Stick” learning packs.

The “Make It Stick” packs were developed specifically for each course and include 6 different, 10-15-minute exercises or activities that can be delivered by team leaders or managers in one-on-one coaching sessions or in interactive group activities.  They are not required to be delivered sequentially as written, so team leaders or managers can choose to deliver each activity based on specific individual requirements or group needs as well.

“Make It Stick” packs can be purchased as an add-on for inhouse training events and can be delivered by internal organisational team leaders or managers.  If you dont have anyone experienced in faciliating activities, PDT can deliver an internal train-the-trainer session for a team leader or series of team leaders, so if the organisation does not have an experienced internal coach or trainer, PDT can help get you prepard to deliver these sessions.


Knowledge transfer and new skills uptake are affected by scientifically proven principles that have been identified based on both long-standing theories like the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve and more recent scientific data and research.

You can absolutely improve the knowledge transfer and ability for your staff  to learn new skills and information when you engage with PDT to support your L&D initiatives and take advantage of 10 years of professional development experience and the proven tools and methods we utilise when working with our clients around the world!

Contact us on 1300 121 400 or email [email protected] today to discuss your requirements or to receive a free quote for your next learning event.


  1. https://www.psychestudy.com/cognitive/memory/ebbinghaus-forgetting-curve
  2. If we take a moment at this point to refer to our previous article about the 4 different personality types identified in the REACH Ecosystem psychometric profiles, and how each personality type prefers to learn in a different way, we can see how bullet points 1 and 2 can have an effect on how a learner perceives what is being taught and how it’s being delivered to them.

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