The Psychology of Learning
At HN Networks, we believe that the best way to deliver training is to do it in such a way that it matches the way in which people actually learn. To this end, in addition to understanding the subjects that we deliver, we also have a good understanding of the ways in which people learn. Consequently, we deliver the training in such a way that our students derive the maximum possible benefit.

Below, we have provided some brief information on the ways that people learn and, also very importantly, forget information.

Learning and Forgetting

In the world of psychology, and particularly in the area of the psychology of learning, a lot is known about the way in which people learn as well as the way in which people forget. At HN Networks we use this knowledge to enable us to deliver our training courses with the greatest effect for our clients.

It is well understood that, after we have learned something, we start to forget it very quickly. As a result, periodic reviews are very important. Two renowned contributors to the subject of memory loss were Hermann Ebbinghaus and H.F.Spitzer who both conducted experiments to assess the amount of information retained over a period of time following it being learnt. Their results were as follows:

In a study first published in the late nineteenth century, Hermann Ebbinghaus (1913) reported the rates of forgetting meaningless syllables.

Time From First Learning Percentage of Material Remembered Percentage of Material Forgotten
After 20 minutes 53% 47%
After 2 days 31% 69%
After 15 days 25% 75%
After 31 days



In another study, Spitzer (1939) reported the rates of forgetting text book material.

Time From First Learning Percentage of Material Remembered Percentage of Material Forgotten
After 1 day 54% 46%
After 7 days 35% 65%
After 14 days 21% 79%
After 21 days 18% 82%
After 28 days 19% 81%
After 63 days 17% 83%

Both of these sets of statistics nicely illustrate the need for strategies to improve short-term and long-term retention of information. With HN Networks' training techniques, we use regular reviews to reinforce the subjects learnt so that the students are much less likely to forget the information.

Further to this information, HN Networks also uses the following statistics to better deliver our training. The following graph shows the proportion of information retained in a lecture type environment.

This graph shows the way in which a person will retain information throughout a typical training session. It shows that the memory is good for material at the beginning of the session, actually being best a few minutes after the start. However, the memory tails off during the session but improves significantly towards the end.

The Application of Breaks

We all know how hard it is to digest information if we are presented with too much in one go. To that end, it is best to break any period of learning into relatively small pieces, with short breaks between each one. In practice, it is found that somewhere between fifteen and forty-five minutes is best, depending upon the actual material being learnt. If the chunk is too small, often the full meaning of the information will not be comprehended. If the chunk is too large, the benefit of taking breaks is reduced.

How long should the break be? Well, from zero up to about ten minutes the benefit derived from the break increases. Beyond about ten minutes, no additional benefit will be gained. In fact, this is derived from the graph shown above of the proportion of information retained throughout a session. The result of building breaks into a session then has the effect of producing a retention curve as follows: