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We investigate production cost estimates to identify and model modifications to a prescribed learning curve. Our new model examines the learning rate as a decreasing function over time as opposed to a constant rate that is frequently used. The purpose of this research is to determine whether a new learning curve model could be implemented to reduce the error in cost estimates for production processes. A new model was created that mathematically allows for a “flattening effect,” which typically occurs later in the production process. This model was then compared to Wright’s learning curve, which is a popular method used by many organizations today. The results showed a statistically significant reduction in error through the measurement of the two error terms, Sum of Squared Errors and Mean Absolute Percentage Error.


Defense ARJ is published by the Defense Acquisition University. The journal's online version is hosted at



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Defense Acquisition Research Journal