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Forget me… not?

Forget me… not?

Ever heard of Herman Ebbinghaus? No. Not a surprise but you may well know his seminal work – The Forgetting Curve.

The Forgetting Curve is a mathematical formula that describes the rate at which something is forgotten after it is initially learned. It originates in the late 19th century when the German psychologist led the way in performing experiments to understand how memory works. Ebbinghaus’ idea my be 100 years old but is bang up to date for internal communication training today.

Film courtesy of Growth Engineering

The rise of experientialism

As consumers, we love experiences. Take America for example.

More Americans are travelling than ever before as shown by the rise in US passport holders. Up fourfold since 1994. One of the reasons for this says Lisa Delpy Neirotti, a professor of tourism at George Washington University Business School, is experientialism. (1)

“Millennials would rather put their money into experiences than consumer goods. They’d rather spend their money on something that’s going to bring a memory – or a Snapchat photo – than a car, or a new couch.

Frankly, who wouldn’t?

Forget me not!

Every year, around £45bn is spent on training in the UK (2). If Ebbinghaus’ research is to be believed, 90% of what is learned is forgotten within a week of a traditional learning event. Put another way, £40bn is wasted spend.

£40bn. Every year. Wasted.

Of course, Ebbinghaus would remind us this alters if “spaced repetition” is adopted, but let’s assume it is not. Traditional learning events are outdated, ineffective and do not deliver long-lasting results. What is the answer?


DOING things differently

Think about it!

“I love that dress!” Or “We have to buy this house, it feels right!” Or “What a cute puppy, he’s adorable!”

Emotions drive decisions. Creating a positive emotional connection with your audience – be that consumer or employee – can influence how engaged that audience is, and how long that lasts. Making buying decisions with your head – features, cost, and so on – plays a small part in consumer buying decisions. Research shows over 50% of an experience is based on emotions and that customers expect to be “positively, emotionally and memorably impacted at every level of their commercial existence.” (3)

Consumers are people. People that come to work. And they want… expect… they expect to be as engaged at work. With every experience. That includes learning experiences, too.

Our experience

We deliver internal communication experiences. Not internal communication training, but experiences. The difference is huge. And it all started a few years ago.

1968: Jane Elliott’s class divided.

Our lightbulb moment was when we ‘trained’ an entire business to behave respectfully. Trained? It was an experiential event. People were made to experience what it felt like to be ‘picked on.’ It was raw. Some people shouted. Others walked out. Most shrunk in their seats. All was revealed, apologies proffered, and the point was made.

“It don’t feel nice being picked on.” An emotional experience.

In 12 months, the company went from 2 or 3 low level bullying and harassment complaints a week to just 2. Phenomenal results. Results traditional training events had failed to impact. What was it Benjamin Franklin said?

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Involve me and I learn. Bullseye Benny!

DOING experiences

How do you turn training events into learning experiences? Here’s three things we incorporate into our DOING by Masgroves experiences.

  1. START AFRESH – with every experience we design, we start with a blank sheet of paper. Literally. Never do we think we’ve done this before, let’s dig that old course off the shelf! Never. Be clear on your objective, think about your audience and then…
  2. BE CREATIVE! Unleash your imagination and think how you can make your event truly memorable. Props. Activities. Sounds. Tastes even. We once ran an experience using a Thai chef who cooked as she talked about career development. There are no boundaries other than good taste and budget!
  3. CREATE SOMETHING UNIQUE. Imagine you only get to do this once. What will make your event… sorry, experience… what will make your experience the best experience it can be. It’s a bit like a wedding day. One shot. All or nothing. Make. It. Brilliant. (Ask us how we brought Channels to life for one client with a train journey!)

It’s that simple. Kind of.

We wove “A Class Divided’ into our respectful workplace training. (4) There needs to be some depth to your experience. Balloons and party poppers can only take you so far.


The takeaway from this is simple. Want people to ‘learn something’ and for that ‘something’ to stick? A new behaviour? Your values? Whatever. Provide them with an experience.


 Masgroves DOING

DOING by Masgroves

DOING by Masgroves are unique learning experiences for Leaders, for Companies and for Individuals. We have been trialling DOING experiences for a year, and they are enjoying nothing but rave reviews.

“It is me who should be thanking you! What a fabulous day – Masgroves were outstanding. I have a notepad, photo-file and brain full of ideas and tips. Thanks again for inviting me. I feel very privileged.”

Managing Director, Financial services

“We’ve received nothing but rave reviews from everyone! We were at a local conference today and I had many folks come up and say what a great session yours was!”

Senior Vice-President, US professional services

It totally changed the way our senior managers view communicating. It’s inspired them to do things differently and we’re already seeing the difference across the organisation.”

Communications Director, leading UK Charity

What are people raving about? To find out more, click here.

(1) Source: BBC
(2) Source: UKCES Employer Skills Survey 2015: UK report
(3) Source: Pine & Gilmore: The Experience Economy
(4) Source: A Class Divide