Learning Curve

Written By:
Paul Tracy
Updated October 17, 2020

What is a Learning Curve?

A learning curve is the time it takes to master a concept. It is more of an idea than a chart or other visual representation of learning.

How Does a Learning Curve Work?

For example, piloting a 777 has a steep learning curve -- you can't just walk in off the street and learn how to do it in 10 minutes. It takes years of training and simulation before one can be considered a master of the concept of flying and landing a 777.

Why Does a Learning Curve Matter?

In the business world, learning curves cost money and they create competitive advantages. If a company is training employees how to pilot 777s, for example, the training time costs a lot. However, if the company becomes the only one to have employees who know how to pilot 777s, it has used the learning curve to create a competitive advantage.

In many cases, a graphical representation of the learning curve shows what many experience in the real world -- initial concepts are easy to pick up, but the long-term detail involved in mastering the concept takes years to acquire.