The Whole Issue with Traditional Learning

This article begins with a story. You follow face-to-face training for 3 days. The trainer is great, the subject is of interest to you, all the lights are green. The feeling of accomplishment is very present.

You go home on Friday, then it’s the weekend, kids, barbecue, beer and swimming pool.

You go to the office on Monday, as you have been absent for 3 days, you catch up on your emails.



At the end of the week, you must put into practice the things learned the week before. You are incapable of it. You forgot a lot of information. This is Hermann Ebbinghaus’s forgetting curve. The Ebbinghaus forgetting curve shows how quickly we forget information over time if we don’t try to remember it. For learning and development professionals, this has been a challenge for several years.

Is there any point in investing time and money in creating online training if trainees are unlikely to retain the information they learn? I will attempt a more detailed explanation of this famous forgetting curve, and I will suggest ways to mitigate it.

About the Forgetting Curve

Wikipedia gives us good information about the forgetting curve.

To put it simply, the forgetting curve is a mathematical formula by German scientist Hermann Ebbinghaus. The curve demonstrates how quickly information is forgotten over time if we don’t try to remember it with actual, tangible actions.

By default, a learner will forget the elements learned at a certain speed if these elements are not put into practice rigorously and quickly after the training activities.

We can see it clearly in the image above, the more time passes, the more we forget what we have learned. Implementing additional actions to integrate training learning makes it possible to maximize the retention of said learning. This is what “first, second and third review” shows.

Hybrid Learning Helps Flatten the Forgetting Curve

Blended learning is an educational method that combines online and face-to-face learning. Since the 2000s, this approach has become increasingly popular in schools, higher education, etc. because it offers increased flexibility and personalization of learning.

By “online”, we mean the digital media available to the trainee (texts, images, audio, videos, etc.). And by “face-to-face”, we mean both face-to-face and remote. Since the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, many historically face-to-face interactions have been transformed and replaced by virtual. We are, yes yes, well in the era of Zoom and Teams.

Blended learning typically allows trainees to work at their own pace and manage their time according to their needs. Online courses allow trainees to interact with learning materials anytime, anywhere, while face-to-face or Zoom courses provide opportunities for in-person interaction with faculty and the group, when applicable. Hybrid mode also allows trainees to personalize their learning experience based on their preferences and needs.

Developing a structured training program over a specific number of weeks, with individual times and common times, is a very interesting method to reduce the forgetting curve.

How LearnDash can Help with the Forgetting Curve

In our toolbox, everyone knows that LearnDash plays a central role. That’s why I’m going to write a few lines about using LearnDash to support online learning. The idea is to use techniques and strategies to make learning activities dynamic.

Adapt Course Structure to Make it Interactive

Before even creating the content of your training in LearnDash, you must design the structure of the course in line with the educational objectives. What are we trying to teach the trainee? What do we want him to remember first?

Some training courses are 100% online, and that’s very good.

But a simple way to add value is to have group time to stimulate discussion. This can be done in several ways:

  • Operate in micro-learning mode. More LearnDash modules, but shorter and more focused. The structure will be more adapted to the retention of knowledge and its application.
  • Have a calendar of events to which interns are invited. The event takes the form of a webinar on Zoom which covers a subject related to training. By default, LearnDash does not have a calendar, but the Events Calendar for LearnDash plugin from HonorsWP is well designed and meets this need perfectly.
  • Use assignments which are a native feature of LearnDash. Homework allows the trainee to contribute to their own learning, and to establish communication with the trainer. This is a significant aspect of making the course more interactive.

Use Gamification Principles

I’m not a huge fan of gamification, but I believe that certain aspects are fundamentally interesting for stimulating learning. When thinking of the Forgetting Curve, this is probably one of the great options.

Use H5P modules to make your training more interactive. H5P is a tool that takes the form of a plugin and allows you to create games, quizzes, and all kinds of other things. H5P modules can easily be inserted into the training.

LearnDash now includes an add-on called LearnDash Achievements. This small plugin allows you to generate messages of encouragement via notifications when the trainee accomplishes an objective. For example, at the end of a course or module.

Have a Pro Review Your Stats

Do you already have an online training site and need help to boost your training? Are you looking to get started with LearnDash but want to make sure you’re starting in the right direction? Tell us about your project, and we will be able to provide you with ideas and recommendations to help you move forward.

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Frederick Dugas

Building quality IT solutions to small & medium organizations. I am passionate about automation and WordPress.