learning curve

(redirected from Experience curve)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial.

learning curve

[′lər·niŋ ‚kərv]
Graphical representation of the relationship between acquisition of knowledge or skill, and the amount of practice or trials.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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.


This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)
References in periodicals archive ?
Similarly, fossil-fuel costs at utilities with nuclear plants are relatively high, because of a greater reliance on non-coal fuels, such as oil and natural gas." (12) Second, by 1985 the "experience curve" for nuclear power likely has resulted in increased efficiency and reduced costs over time, with some savings in capital equipment.
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.
According to the experience curve concept, unit manufacturing costs for a product typically decline by some characteristic amount--approximately 20%--each time accumulated out-put of that product is doubled (Source: Boston Consulting Group).
Firms that experiment build experience curves that others will never be able to catch up with.
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.
Neij, "Use of experience curves to analyse the prospects for diffusion and adoption of renewable energy technology," Energy Policy, vol.
- Demonstrably advanced our position along the technical, relationship and organisational experience curves that are critical to achieving commercialisation
They discuss a number of issues and hazards associated with using experience curves, and whether they can be used to quantify improvements in energy efficiency--and provide recommendations for how experience curves could be used.