What you really need when you learn

What do you really need when you learn? This could be a million-dollar question.

We all spend a lot of time learning and it happens mostly on the job. Often without realising it, we learn something new every day. We also spend time on focused learning when we do a training, follow a workshop or go to a conference. Or we entertain micro-learning when we look up something on the internet or watch a short how-to video on YouTube. Having said that, the average time we spend on learning every week is a mere 24 minutes.

Now ask yourself he question: what do I truly remember from all this learning? Because if you do not remember it, have you really learned something? Or have you just learned something in the moment you needed it, and the acquired knowledge became obsolete immediately afterwards?

need when you learn


Already in 1885, the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered the learning curve, the forgetting curve, the spacing effect, and several other fundamental behaviours of human learning. Ebbinghaus’ research shows that In the first 10 minutes after having learned something new, we forget 30% points of that newly acquired knowledge. After one week, 90% of it is gone.

So here we are: we spend 24 minutes per week on learning, we forget 30% of it almost instantly and we have forgotten 90% of it within a week. Why try to learn at all?

What you really need when you learn

What you really need when you learn, is that you do not forget it again. Otherwise you have wasted valuable time, effort and money. Because the next time you find yourself in a similar situation, you will have to look up that information again. It would be much easier if you could just draw upon your knowledge and pull it out right there and then when you need it. You would also quickly become the go-to person for many of your colleagues. You can also imagine this would not hurt your career advancement.

This is where the Spacing Effect comes in, another discovery by Ebbinghaus. The Spacing Effect states that we learn material more effectively and easily when we study it several times spaced out over a longer time span, rather than trying to learn it in a short period of time. The learner has time to process and internalise the information and is more likely to remember it over the long term.

Advanced learning technology

The true million-dollar question is: how? This is where advanced learning technology comes in, often referred to as ‘intelligent’. Most of this intellligence, however, comes in the form of recommendations of what could be your next subject of learning. “You have now studied Foundations of negotiations, we recommend Advanced negotiation skills as your next training.” Or, “Others who have studied Accounting foundations, have also studied Overview of financial statements”.

This is helpful in systems with 1,000s of courses because it helps you navigating such systems as you will hardly need all these trainings. However, this type of ‘intelligence’ does not help you retaining your knowledge. And, a true learning path is mostly established together with your supervisor, mentor or coach. It is dependent on your envisioned career path and areas where you would need to develop yourself.

need when we learn

Built-in intelligence

So how can advanced learning technology support the spacing effect and help you retaining your knowledge? And support true learning in the long-term?

By building this intelligence, this spaced learning efffect, into each individual course.

The DuoTesting methodology by DuoTrainin is question- or quiz-based. A random selection of questions that have been answered correctly before will re-appear, to check if a person still knows what he knew before. DuoTrainin creates and updates a strength/weaknesses profile of each individual after each question answered and will deliver tailored content to each individual. A person’s experience, knowledge level and functional viewpoint will all become part of his individual training, instantly.

A learner can come back to his course anytime, anywhere, on any device for any period of time. Learn faster and forget slower while waiting for a tram or bus. I am sure you will learn more than 24 minutes a week and you will maintain your knowledge for the long-term.

Why not try DuoTrainin?

Read also:
If you can answer one of these learning questions with yes, this is for you
Learning to learn; it’s a journey
2018 workplace learning in a nutshell (with VIDEO)
Your company is agile. Your work is mobile. How about your training?

Leave a comment


email* (not published)


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

* indicates required
Email Address*

Email Format