Learning Curve Spreadsheet
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Learning Curve Spreadsheet

Learning Curve

This learning curve spreadsheet will give you a way to calculate the numbers for your situation. This is all about human learning. We tend to improve our performance as we repetitively do a task. Learning curves quantify that improvement. This method can be applied to any activity that is repeated many times (tasks and units of production are used interchangeable). Typical industries using it are manufacturing and service, although there are applications in many others as well.

The Spiritual Factor

You may wonder why we are discussing a spiritual factor with learning curves. We are not talking about religion, but we are talking about having the faith to improve. Improvement over repeated performances is a scientific fact. However, a negative attitude or lack of faith that one can improve, can leave progress at a standstill. In other words a positive attitude has a shorter learning curve than a negative attitude.

The Formula

The formula for learning curve is:

Learning Curve Formula

Tn=time required for nth item produced

C=constant, which is equal to the time to produce the 1st unit

s=slope constant, always negative

On a graph with normal axes the curve will look like this:

When plotted on log-log coordinates(meaning both the axes are logarithmic), the plot is a straight line.

The Learning Curve Spreadsheet

This spreadsheet will calculate the slope s and the common term of percent of time required for a doubled number of units of production. This is calculated from your input of the 2 points of production. An example would be the 40th unit and the 92nd unit produced and the times required to produce them. The second step which relies on the results of the 1st step, predicts the time required for an nth unit of production.


This learning curve spreadsheet can help you predict the gradual reduction in time required to complete repetitive tasks. Only limited experience with the task is needed to permit accurate predictions.

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Learning Curve Equation