Once Is Never Enough
By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

In the 1880s, psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus created his concept of the Forgetting Curve. His curve revealed that within three to five days we forget 90% of what we have learned unless the learning is reinforced with multiple repetitions. Last week in a coaching session, one of my clients shared with me he came to a realization that he needs to listen to The Next Page episodes more than once. He feels that there is so much to gain, once through is just not enough. While I may be tempted to feel flattered at his comments, the truth is, as Herman determined, without repetition, we forget 90% of what we’ve learned.

At my first Maxwell Certification event, John Maxwell shared his ACT method. Whenever you are in training, as you write your notes write an “A” next to everything that you feel you should Act upon. When you make a note of something that you want to change in your life, you write a “C.” If you make a note of something that you want to share or teach, you write a “T.” Once you finish the training, review your notes and prioritize all of your “A”s, “C”s and “T”s. Start with the most important and work your way through the list.

According to the National Training Laboratories, our retention rate can range from 5% to 90%. The key is to determine the best way for us to retain what we have learned. John’s ACT method is actually quite brilliant. He’s asking us to think through the notes as we make them and determine where they should be applied. He then asks us to review them again as we prioritize them. And perhaps the most important, John asks us to consider what we can teach others. The simple ACT method includes repetition, reflection, application, and lastly (and most importantly) teaching what we learn. The 90% retention rate the National Training Laboratories is referring to comes when we teach what we have just learned.

How about you? What has worked in your efforts to remember what you have learned?

Join Marisa and me on The Next Page podcast as we share our experiences with information retention and ideas to retain more.

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