The Ebbinghaus forgetting curve

“[Hermann Ebbinghaus’s] forgetting curve describes the exponential loss of information that one has learned. The sharpest decline occurs in the first twenty minutes and the decay is significant through the first hour. The curve levels off after about one day.”

As discussed in Ted Gannan’s recent blog, “Job-related training is an exercise in helping people develop memories in the hope that the things they learn in training will be useful to them in the future. It’s well known that the half-life of memories created in formal training is extremely short… But organizations today still spend a great deal of time and money training their employees about facts and processes that they simply can’t remember.”

This concept is particularly true for operators of OSS tools. There are so many workflows, keystrokes, conventions, facts, figures, etc that operators will quickly forget much of the information that is delivered to them in the course-based training that many OSS vendors deliver.

Given that an operator’s ability to use your new OSS tools is directly related to the perception of success on your OSS project, I’m a big believer that traditional course-based training is not the ideal model for OSS vendors either.

I’m more confident in the approach of providing operators with Decision Support Systems (DSS) or Process Guidance Systems (PGS) in addition to operators undertaking OSS apprenticeships and learning in sand-pit environments.

Further learning development ideas are discussed in this earlier post too.

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