How to Combat Forgetting Curve in Corporate Training

5/5 - (2 votes)
All good leaders are well acquainted with the learning curve, but very few know anything about the forgetting curve. For those of you who don’t know, the forgetting curve is basically the opposite of what the learning curve is. It refers to the human tendency of forgetting ideas and information that we’ve learned over the years. This sort of problem happens whenever personnel training is not reinforced or when lessons are taught in haphazard way. In other words, an organization with a high forgetting curve will have a lot of employees who frequently forget what they’ve learned in their training. 

Fortunately, this sort of of problem is easy to deal with. Getting people to remember what they’ve learned during training can be done by modifying certain aspects of your organization’s training operations. What this basically means is that corporate education should not only focus on teaching and training, it should also emphasize retention and comprehension. For example, most employees have an easier time remembering what they’ve been taught if they have a deep understanding of the core concepts behind their lessons. Likewise, most personnel will have less problems remembering what they’ve been taught if they are consistently given the opportunity (and incentives) to apply such lessons in their everyday work. 

So if you’re a corporate leader who wants to reduce the forgetting curve in their organization, then here are several ideas that will help your personnel remember what they’ve learned in their training.

How to Combat Forgetting Curve in Corporate Training

Give Your Personnel Ongoing Access to Content 

The first step in reducing an organizations’ forgetting curve is to simply give its trained personnel ongoing access to the content used to train them. This is particularly important once the training is over, since it offers them the chance to review the things they’ve learned during training. An organization can even take this one step further by giving their personnel serious incentives for reviewing their training materials whenever they get the chance to do so. Not only does access to learning resources help to prevent personnel from forgetting what they’ve learned, it also encourages them to learn new things as well. 

Reinforced Education

Another method for overcoming the forgetting curve is to implement reinforced education, which can be described as specialized reviews that help to remind personnel about things they’ve already learned during their training. 

Reinforced education usually consists of forum style discussions, direct messaging instructions, webinars as well as training videos. For better results, some organizations even use social media, paired coaching as well as group exercises to help employees retain whatever information they’ve learned through formal training. 

Consistent Skills Application

The best form of remembering is doing. When personnel are encouraged to apply what they’ve learned on their daily tasks, they are less likely to forget them. Whether it’s safety procedures or rules of conduct, encouraging an organization’s personnel to apply them on a consistent basis on their work turns the information they’ve learned into a practical work habit. 

In other words, the information is no longer abstract or conceptual, but real and habitual. People who apply what they’ve learned on real world problems are less likely to forget their lessons, since it’s part of their every day routine.

Removing Unnecessary or Superficial Information From Training Courses

One of the reasons why people forget a lot of things is because they are forced to learn a lot of things. In certain cases, some of the things that they’ve learned may even be considered trivial and unnecessary to their actual work functions, which is why they eventually forget such lessons as time goes by. Therefore, one way to deal with the forgetting curve is to simply avoid giving personnel unnecessary information. If they want to learn more, then that’s all well and good, but forcing your personnel and staff to learn more than what is necessary will only make their work unnecessarily difficult, which in turn increases the likelihood of them forgetting what they have learned over the years. 


The advantage behind multimedia is that, unlike instructors, they are easily absorbed by the human brain. This is because multimedia education involves both the eyes and the ears, and the more you expose your personnel to them, the better their retention of certain key concepts will be. Audiobooks, videos, interactive programs and various other educational media are very good tools for educating corporate personnel. 

Furthermore, it’s also worth mentioning that multimedia can be viewed and/or listened to over and over again. So that whenever one of your personnel seems to be forgetting a few important details about what they’ve learned, they can always review their lessons using multimedia platforms. 

Memory Aids

Finally, it’s good for organizations to use mnemonics to help their employees remember what they’ve learned over the years. Mnemonics are basically verses, acronyms and quotable phrases that help people remember key concepts and ideas. For example, you can try co-opting the popular verse, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” and turn it into “An update a day keeps the problems away.” The verse may seem childish to some of your personnel, but it’s a good way of making them remember key ideas. 

Another good example is the acronym STEM, which most people associate with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics courses. Acronyms are useful for abbreviating several key concepts into a single, memorable term. So if you can’t come up with verses or phrases, simply stick to acronyms, since they help to remind ordinary personnel about important words and concepts which are related to one another. 

Create these mnemonics for items that you want your employees to always remember. They can even function as checklists for day to day operations at the office, and can help reduce errors in the field.


What is known as the forgetting curve is just another aspect of personnel and employee training. However, unlike conventional training or education, dealing with people’s forgetfulness is an open-ended process. In order to help an organization’s personnel remember what they’ve learned during training, it’s important for their leaders and managers to help them remember what they need to remember. Dealing with the forgetting curve is a task that all organizations must deal with, especially with regards to their personnel, but it is also one that ensures efficiency at the workplace.
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog