Learning, forgetting and remembering.

80% of what has been learned is forgotten after one month!

A complete learning process is composed of three phases: Assimilation, Consolidation, Application.

The phase of Assimilation is the proper learning action of discovering something new. During the Consolidation the knowledge and skills are trained and retained with the objective of using them during the Application phase.

According to research by Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger of the Center for Creative Leadership:

  • Approximately 70% of learning takes place from experiments on workstation, tasks and problem solving,
  • Approximately 20% of learning is based on feedback and interaction with others,
  • Approximately 10% of learning takes place from courses and reading.

In conclusion, research has proved that:

  • 1
    Everyone learns at
    his own pace
  • 2
    Knowledge assimilation is
    more than just learning
  • 3
    Individual follow-up and
    feedback is essential


The learning process

Assimilation with adaptive and personalized learning


There are many theories of how we learn, some introduce the learning styles, others insist on learner’s preference with some pedagogies, some others claim about an experimental approach, others more conceptual…

Agree or disagree? What is important to note is that these theories converge at one point: everyone has a preference and facility for some type of pedagogy or knowledge, and this one can differ from one person to another.

Furthermore, the starting and ending point of learning are or can be different for each one, leading to the need of adaptive and personalized learning.

In any case, some important strategies to enhance learning outcomes are:

  • Use different learning pedagogies for each content,
  • Challenge learners with tests,
  • Provide useful and insightful feedback,
  • Adapt the learning path to the individual pace,
  • Settle objectives and goals matching the knowledge level and skills mastery.
Consolidation, memory and forgetting curve


The psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus is considerated as the father of the learning experimental psychology. He is known for his book In Memory of 1885 where the term “forgetting curve” has been introduced. In this publication, he presents an example of retention rates. He had learned himself nonsense syllables and only retained 21% of them after a month.

Since then, other studies have appeared on memory and forgotten, with complementary results. These studies were based on the retention of diverse and varied knowledge1, 2, 3, 4 and have different retention results that vary between 11% and 98%.

These differences are explained by various factors, among which:

  • Type of content to be memorized,
  • Methodology used for remembering,
  • Number and form of reminders after a learning session.

In particular, studies4, 5 and practice clearly show that it is easier to remember:

  • Structured content (content on neuronal function) rather than unstructured content (nonsense syllables),
  • Making short, quick and fun tests rather than making long review sessions,
  • Alternating subjects rather than learning a single material,
  • Delegating “review session” (automatic reminders planning) to a computer tool.

(1) Couples English- Spanish words without previous knowledge of Spanish on an English-speaking population after one month and after 8 years ( ” Bahrick , HP (1979) Maintenance of knowledge: . . Questions about memory we forgot to ask Journal of Experimental Psychology: General , 108, 296-308 “and” Bahrick , HP, & Phelps , E. ( 1987) Retention of Spanish vocabulary over 8 years Journal of Experimental Psychology: . . Learning , Memory , and Cognition , 13, 344 -349 ” ),
(2) Arbitrary associations of two words after one week (Runquist, W. (1983). Some effects of remembering on forgetting. Memory & Cognition, 11, 641-650. Experiment 1. ),
(3) Course Content on neuronal function, thinking and feeling after a day, three days and one week (Jones, HE ( 1925). Experimental Studies of College Teaching . Archives of Psychology. New York , 68, 1-70 . Experiments on pages 38-40 . ),
(4) The intersection of subjects to remember ( The Effects of Interleaved Practice in 2010 by KELLI TAYLOR and DOUG ROHRER Department of Psychology , University of South Florida , USA),
(5) “Taking Memory Tests Improves Long – Term Retention ” by Henry L. Roediger , III, and Jeffrey D. Karpicke – Washington University in St. Louis – 2006

Measure the learning outcomes


Evaluation requires very specific criteria. It is a set of crucial steps (diagnostic evaluation, criterion-referenced assessment, formative evaluation, summative evaluation) that provide:

  • Insightful information about how a course is understood,
  • Powerful data to understand individuals’ learning.

A qualitative data collection and analysis have to be performed, among others:

  • A diagnostic evaluation: to evaluate the person before learning, in order to adjust the content of the course or presentation.
  • A criterion-referenced assessment: to validate the knowledge and skills acquired, at the end of the learning process.
  • A formative evaluation: to provide individualized support during the phase of exercises and tests, and to follow the progress of each learner individually.
  • A summative evaluation: to make a final assessment or issue a certificate.

Above all, learning evaluation and analytics enhance learning outcomes by driving actionable individual action plans.


Want to know more?

If you want to have more information about Domoscio, please fill in the fields below

I am...*

Domoscio newsletter

Do you want to be kept in the loop? Subscribe to our newsletter


Contact details

Head office

20 Rue du Commandant René Mouchotte
75014 Paris, France


47 Rue du Caire
75002 Paris, France

Call us

+33 (0) 1 85 09 03 57