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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

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Dale Brethower

Will,
Thanks for the article!

I am getting very good at forgetting, making great progress during the couple of decades since I passed 50. One thing I remember: "How much do people forget?" is a bad question for trainers or educators. Your answer, "it varies" has been known by serious researchers for decades; it is worth reminding everyone.
A better question is "What variables influence remembering what has been learned?"
The short answer "the same variables that influence using what has been learned" might or might not be the entire story. There is a small amount of conflicting evidence but possibly research will show that the remainder of the story is also told by "the same variables that influence using." In the meantime, focusing on the variables that influence remembering will be more useful to trainers, or their clients. Focusing on "what doesn't work" is very different than focusing on "what works.:

Thiagi

Great summary, Will.

Has practical applications for learning professionals.

How about writing a book on this topic, stressing the importance of training and learning strategies?

Clare Elizabeth Carey

Thanks, Will! What a great way to start the new year - focusing on research that we can use at work. Appreciate your WILL-ingness to share your sanity. Your suggestions are on point.

Simone Sietsma

This is an excellent piece. Thank you. Finally some real data to dispute those nebulous claims! Thank you for your generous approach to knowledge sharing.

Brad Fallon

I think the reason that we forget is because our brain can only take so much of information. Beyond its capacity to retain, it forgets. And also we have this selective memory that we only want to retain good memories.

Richard Presley

Brad, I would agree with you up to a point. I would say that is time dependent. Over a lifetime, I don't know that anyone has reached an upper limit of what the brain is able to take in apart from debilitating diseases. Our ability to both organize information into conceptual sets that not only retain new knowledge better, but also synthesize new knowledge from existing knowlege strongly implies unlimited learning capacity. The problem is, without time to organize those conceptual sets, our brain is unable to fight the firehose of information.

steve

The argument that "people forget most of what you tell them in the classroom" often ignores this key question:

- was what you were telling them (usually to pass some written exam) actually important in the first place?

Furthermore...

- if information is not central to the behavior change and is present simply to provide input reference for a permutation, I would guess that this information would be better served in a reference or job aid.

I've always felt that there were certain types of activities in the classroom that produced a covert inception. The types of embedding that you know are going to have some type of recall applicability when it comes to real performance. How often is a worker going to encounter a written test in their regular duties?

It's great that you're teasing out these nuances. Loving it.

Frank Meister

Will,

I enjoyed your summary of the available research on memory retention. You make the case for instructional designers and educators to re-evaluate their instructional practices and pedagogy.

I did want to get your opinion on a fascinating story I recently saw on 60 Minutes about a small group of people that researchers have identified as having the ability to recall events that occurred in their life and beyond on specific dates, effectively remembering every day of their life. The link to the story is below.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/20/earlyshow/leisure/celebspot/main7167813.shtml

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According to above graph, this information is very common but no one focuses on these points which are mentioned in this post. Definitely this information will also be very useful for other visitors same like me.

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'm not sure what to say about your close family, but the general folks you may see everyday or pal around with may forget cos they can't see the pain, like you can see a cast on an arm, or a wheelchair, or cane, etc. Good luck to you!

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The problem is, without time to organize those conceptual sets, our brain is unable to fight the firehose of information.

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The types of embedding that you know are going to have some type of recall applicability when it comes to real performance.

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There is a small amount of conflicting evidence but possibly research will show that the remainder of the story is also told by "the same variables that influence using.Thanks

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A very informative article.Really great way to start the new year .No one focuses on these points which are mentioned in this post.

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I'm curious what the "best methods" and "worse methods" referenced are.

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show that the remainder of the story is also told by "the same variables that influence using.Thanks

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I am just writing a text for a seminar that I attended and was already wondering about the new versions of Dales Cone. Since our library doesn't own Dales original writing including the cone I was almost fooled by the forged new versions that you can find anywhere in the web. I almost believed it.

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