The forgetting curve: Importance of Pairing

The forgetting curve shows us how we forget information over time. How we consume information affects the rate at which information is forgotten.

We all know Pair Programming has a number of benefits. The forgetting curve is one piece of information that supports the importance of pair programming.

Why? Well, here are some stastics about memory:

What people remember after 30 days:

90% of what they learn when they teach someone else/use immediately.

75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.

50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.

30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration.

20% of what they learn from audio-visual.

10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading.

5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from lecture.

Human interaction is CLEARLY a key factor in memory retention. Pair programming makes you a better programmer because the information you learn will be retained more than a reading a book, blog post, or watching a conference.

When pairing, have your pair explain back to you a newly learned concept as if they were teaching you. Why? The individual will remember 90% of what they learned, and the fact that you taught them.

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