learning curve

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learning curve

[′lər·niŋ ‚kərv]
Graphical representation of the relationship between acquisition of knowledge or skill, and the amount of practice or trials.

learning curve

A graph showing some measure of the cost of performing some action against the number of times it has been performed. The term probably entered engineering via the aircraft industry in the 1930s, where it was used to describe plots showing the cost of making some particular design of aeroplane against the number of units made.

The term is also used in psychology to mean a graph showing some measure of something learned against the number of trials. The psychology graphs normally slope upward whereas the manufacturing ones normally slope downward but they are both usually steep to start with and then level out.

Marketroids often misuse the term to mean the amount of time it takes to learn to use something ("reduce the learning curve") or the ease of learning it ("easy learning curve"). The phrase "steep learning curve" is sometimes used incorrectly to mean "hard to learn" whereas of course it implies rapid learning.


References in periodicals archive ?
The limited view of experience curves is that the key metric of installed capacity is descriptive of past events that might not reflect future trends-and cost or price parity itself is not the pure determinant of successful user adoption.
In the decline phase of the product line (as other product substitutes emerge) sales and prices decline; firms that have not achieved a favorable position on the experience curve become unprofitable and either merge or exit from the industry.
It may also have to offer a standardized product to the global marketplace in order to ride down the experience curve as quickly as possible.
Wind project costs will reduce by 32% by 2040 because of "steep experience curves and improved financing".
Subsequent coverage includes market development, the power of price experience curves, future technology development, future energy projections.
Demonstrably advanced our position along the technical, relationship and organisational experience curves that are critical to achieving commercialisation