Learning Curve Theory

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Learning Curve Theory

Regina M. Shirley

University of Phoenix

Learning Curve Theory

The goal of implementing the learning curve theory is the improvement in performance of process because of the repetitive nature of tasks. This can be a powerful tool for any learning process. This theory includes three fundamental assumptions; “the time required for completion of task decreases as it is repeated a number of times, the percentage of improvement decreases with corresponding increase in volume of units, and the rate of improvement is predictable over the specified time” (Chase, Jacobs, & Aquilano, 2006, p. 88) .

Another way to describe the theory is ‘practice makes perfect’. As a process is performed, workers become more proficient with each iteration. With each iteration, the time to produce each unit decreases as well as the cost of each unit. With every doubling in volume, the cost decreases by 20 %. This is the rate of learning. For example, the Boeing Company discovered that building aircraft was a very predictable process. If it costs $100 million to build the first airplane, it will be $80 million to build the second, $64 million to make the fourth, $51 million for the eighth and so forth until it reaches a plateau. “The planes get cheaper to build as the company learns how to do it more efficiently. Workers work faster; make fewer mistakes and waste less material” (Computerworld, Inc., 2001). The timing between the doubling of the units, in this case airplanes, decreases by 20 %, therefore it will be described as an 80% learning curve.

Learning Curve Theory for Mario's Pizzeria

Since its establishment, Mario’s Pizzeria has been “serving pizzas in a family-owned traditional pizza parlor setting” (University of Phoenix, 2010, p. 2). The owner, Mario, takes pride in serving authentic tasting pizzas made with fresh ingredients. This is the story of a true American success. Recently, however, the...