To learn is to acquire new behaviors, skills and knowledge. When we’re able to make changes in how we think and act, we’re said to be successful learners. We like to believe that learning is imbibed and maintained over time with the permanence of memory.

Unfortunately, most of us are programmed to forget. In fact, forgetting is one of the few things that comes easily to us. The Forgetting Curve, first conceptualized by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinhaus in the late 19th century, captures the universal truth⁠—that memory is a fleeting, fickle thing. As time passes, it says, the information we learn also passes. Or simply put, information learned is lost over a period of time if we don’t try to retain it. This can happen over days, weeks and months or sometimes even just in minutes. In the context of learning new material and changing behavior, forgetting becomes a roadblock.

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At Harappa Education, an online learning institution, our challenge has been to come up with meaningful and intuitive methods to help our learners retain information over time. So, we devised a blended approach: the nudge.

Nudges are nifty mechanisms tied into our platform that take our learners back to critical points in the course material timed at optimal intervals. As research shows, the “spacing effect” ⁠—review of the material that is spaced out over time rather than occurring in close temporal succession⁠—strengthens the learners’ recall of it, paving the way for learning that sticks, stays and stands the test of time.
These nudges are rooted in a content system that by its very nature doesn’t lend itself to mechanical learning. That’s because the Harappa curriculum uses active learning techniques like in-depth assessments along with contextualized material to give the user an experience they can connect with on a deeper, personal level.

Do give the Forgetting Curve psychology by Hermann Ebbinghaus a read.

Harappa Education’s number one goal is giving every learner an immersive experience that stays with them for life. Something that they, hopefully, won’t forget.


Soumya Bahuguna is a graduate from the Shri Ram College of Commerce. A copy strategist at Harappa Education, she spends her free time playing the piano, reading and petting dogs.


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