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Chapter 07S - Learning Curves

True / False Questions


1. If the elapsed time for the task is short and the activity is somewhat routine, a modest amount of
improvement occurs during the first few repetitions.
Difficulty: Easy

2. When the task is fairly complex and has a longer duration, it will take a larger number of repetitions
before improvement is observed.
Difficulty: Easy

3. Negotiated purchasing results in lower unit costs for smaller quantities


Difficulty: Hard

4. Learning curves generally apply to situations in which there is a high degree of human involvement and
tasks are fairly repetitive.
Difficulty: Medium

5. Learning curves are mostly relevant for complex, new activities that have not been done often.
Difficulty: Easy

6. According to learning curve theory, every doubling of total output will produce a constant percentage
decrease in time per unit.
Difficulty: Medium

7. The decrease in time between the second and fourth units will be equal to the decrease in time between
the first and second units.
Difficulty: Hard

8. According to learning curve theory, for certain kinds of tasks the cost per unit decreases as the number of
repetitions increases.
Difficulty: Hard

9. According to learning curve theory, the time reduction per unit decreases (improves) as the number of
units increase.
Difficulty: Easy

10. A learning percentage of 95% indicates greater learning than a percentage of 90%.
Difficulty: Medium

11. A learning curve for an overqualified worker is higher than an average worker.
Difficulty: Medium

12. An 80 percent learning curve means that with each doubling of repetitions there will be a 20 percent
decrease in time per unit.
Difficulty: Medium

13. For an 80% learning curve, if the first unit requires 10 hours, the second unit will require 8 hours and the
third 6.4 hours.
Difficulty: Hard

14. If an 80% curve is appropriate for a task and the first unit takes ten hours, the average time for the first
two units would be eight hours.
Difficulty: Hard

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Chapter 07S - Learning Curves

15. If we have never made the first unit but only think we know how much the labor time will be, we cannot
draw a learning curve.
Difficulty: Hard

16. The learning curve principal would apply to the number of students in a class a class twice as large will
learn 80% faster.
Difficulty: Easy

17. The learning curve principle would apply to a baseball pitcher learning to throw a curve ball.
Difficulty: Medium

18. The learning curve is a basic tool for mass production type activities because it can deal with large
volumes of output.
Difficulty: Easy

19. Learning curves are used primarily for mass production applications.
Difficulty: Medium

20. A learning rate of 98% implies an exceptionally rapid rate of improvement.


Difficulty: Medium

21. A learning rate of 77% will produce relatively minor decreases in completion times of the first few
repetitions.
Difficulty: Medium

22. One use of learning curves is for negotiated purchasing anticipating lower costs at the vendor with
increasing volumes.
Difficulty: Medium

23. A learning rate of 97% will produce minor decreases in completion times of the first few repetitions.
Difficulty: Medium

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Chapter 07S - Learning Curves

Multiple Choice Questions


24. The fact that human activities typically improve when they are done on a repetitive basis is described by
a/an:
A. normal distribution curve
B. learning curve
C. binomial distribution curve
D. exponential curve
E. fatigue factor allowance
Difficulty: Easy

25. To which worker would learning curves be most applicable?


A. bus driver
B. printing press operator
C. assembly-line worker
D. auto service mechanic
E. baker or cook
Difficulty: Medium

26. Once production is underway and the learning curve effect is occurring, successive changes made to the
production process will cause the time per unit to:
A. continue following the original learning curve without any impact
B. cause a scallop effect
C. increase the unit time and result in a higher percentage learning curve
D. decrease the unit time and result in a higher percentage learning curve
E. decrease the unit time and result in a lower percentage learning curve
Difficulty: Medium

27. On a log-log graph, learning curves appear as:


A. upward-curving lines
B. downward-curving lines
C. straight lines
D. lines which increase at a decreasing rate
E. lines which decrease at a decreasing rate
Difficulty: Medium

28. Increasing volumes result in ___________ the learning curve.


A. moving up
B. moving down
C. moving off
D. moving away from
E. stabilization of
Difficulty: Medium

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Chapter 07S - Learning Curves

10 hours to perform the first kidney transplant on a 100 percent learning curve. The second kidney transplant
will take how many hours to perform?
A. 8.0 hours
B. 10.0 hours
C. 12.0 hours
D. A 100 percent learning curve cannot exist.
E. 5 hours
Difficulty: Hard

30. A job is expected to have a 70 percent learning curve. The first unit has been completed in 20 hours.
Accordingly, the second unit can be expected to take approximately how many hours?
A. 6
B. 9.8
C. 14
D. 20
E. 34
Difficulty: Easy

31. A job with a 70 percent learning curve required 20 hours for the initial unit. The fourth unit should
require approximately how many hours?
A. 6
B. 9.8
C. 14
D. 20
E. 34
Difficulty: Medium

32. How long would a job with a 70 percent learning curve and a time of 20 hours for the first unit require
(approximately, in hours) for the third unit?
A. 14.1
B. 11.5
C. 10.0
D. 7.8
E. 4.3
Difficulty: Hard

33. A job is expected to have a learning curve of 90 percent. The third unit required 16 hours. The twelfth
unit should take approximately how many hours?
A. 2.67
B. 4.83
C. 7.94
D. 10.31
E. 12.95
Difficulty: Hard

34. A job has an 80 percent learning curve. The second unit required 12 hours to complete. Approximately
how many hours will be devoted to the first five units (including those already completed)?
A. 26
B. 36
C. 46
D. 56
E. 66
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Chapter 07S - Learning Curves


Difficulty: Hard

35. A manager is trying to estimate the appropriate learning curve for a certain job. The manager notes that
the first four units had a total time of 30 minutes. Which learning curve would yield approximately this
result if the first unit took 10 minutes?
A. .70
B. .75
C. .80
D. .85
E. .90
Difficulty: Hard

36. In which of the following managerial activities would learning curves probably be the least useful?
A. negotiated purchasing
B. manpower planning
C. location analysis
D. budgeting
E. pricing new products
Difficulty: Medium

37. Which of the following is not a major caution or criticism of learning curves?
A. Learning rates may differ between organizations.
B. Projections should be regarded as approximations.
C. The base time must be carefully determined.
D. The curve may eventually tip upwards.
E. Carryover effects may alter the learning rate.
Difficulty: Hard

38. A job has a 70% learning curve. If the first unit took 10 hours to complete, the third unit should take
roughly how many hours?
A. 7
B. 5.5
C. 5
D. 3.5
E. 4.9
Difficulty: Hard

39. A job has an 80% learning curve. If the first unit took 40 hours to complete, the fourth unit should take
roughly how many hours?
A. 20
B. 25
C. 31
D. 35
E. 40
Difficulty: Easy

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Chapter 07S - Learning Curves

40. Which one of the following would learning curves probably affect the least?
A. pricing new products
B. negotiated purchasing
C. layout analysis
D. scheduling
E. capacity planning
Difficulty: Medium

41. A job has an 80% learning curve. If the first unit took 50 hours to complete, the third unit should take
roughly how many hours?
A. 40
B. 36
C. 35
D. 32
E. 10
Difficulty: Hard

42. Unit times for a job exhibit a learning effect. If the 2nd unit took 30 hours, and the 4th unit took 20
hours, roughly how many hours would you estimate the 3rd unit took?
A. 29
B. 27
C. 25
D. 23
E. 21
Difficulty: Hard

43. A manager is trying to estimate the learning rate for a new job. The first unit took 16 hours and the
fourth unit required about 13 hours. The learning rate is:
A. 70%
B. 75%
C. 80%
D. 85%
E. 90%
Difficulty: Hard

44. A job will have a learning rate of 75 percent. If the 3rd unit requires 10 hours, the 12th unit should
require about this many hours:
A. 5.6
B. 6.5
C. 7.4
D. 8.3
E. 9.2
Difficulty: Hard

Essay Questions
45. Assembly of a model airplane has a learning curve of 80 percent. The estimated time to assemble a
second identical model airplane is 40 hours. Determine approximately how much time will be required for:
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Chapter 07S - Learning Curves

(A) the eighth unit


(B) the first ten units
Difficulty: Medium

46. Developing work assignments in a job shop in a certain firm has a learning curve of 80 percent. If the
second set of assignments takes 12 minutes, determine the length of time required for the following:
(A) the fifth set
(B) sets 3, 4, and 5 together
Difficulty: Medium

47. An order we just received has a 90 percent learning curve associated with it. The second unit of the total
25-unit order had a unit time of 36 minutes. What will the total time be for the entire order (all 25 units)?
Difficulty: Medium

48. Sally suspects strongly that there is a learning curve associated with solving problems assigned for
operations management. She notes that it took her approximately 33 minutes to solve the first problem and
17 minutes to solve the fifth problem.
(A) Estimate Sally's learning percentage.
(B) Using your answer from part a, estimate how long it will take Sally to finish the three remaining
problems.
Difficulty: Medium

49. Ron has noted that the first accounting problem he did in a set of similar problems took him one hour,
and the ninth problem took 24 minutes.
(A) Estimate Ron's learning curve.
(B) About how long did it take Ron to do his set of 10 problems?
Difficulty: Medium

50. It takes a worker with a 90 percent learning curve 72.9 minutes to complete the fourth unit of a sevenunit job. Estimate the amount of time the worker spent on the first two units.
Difficulty: Medium

51. The 3rd unit of a ten-unit job required 7.3 hours to complete. The 4th unit has been worked on for two
hours, but it is not yet finished. Estimate the remaining amount of time that will be needed to finish this tenunit job if the work has an 80% learning curve.
Difficulty: Hard

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Chapter 07S - Learning Curves

Multiple Choice Questions


A company is preparing a bid on a government contract for 40 units of a certain product. The operations
manager estimates the assembly time required for the first two units to be 10.4 hours and 8.8 hours
respectively.
52. What is the appropriate learning curve?
A. 70 percent
B. 75 percent
C. 80 percent
D. 85 percent
E. 90 percent
Difficulty: Medium

53. What is the expected time required to produce the 40th unit?
A. 3.2 hours
B. 4.4 hours
C. 5.9 hours
D. 3.7 hours
E. 2.2 hours
Difficulty: Medium

54. What is the average time per unit for the 40 units?
A. 4.7 hours
B. 6.9 hours
C. 5.6 hours
D. 4.5 hours
E. 3.6 hours
Difficulty: Medium

55. If the contract is canceled after the first 20 units, approximately how much of the expected total direct
labor will have been expended to that point?
A. 58%
B. 55%
C. 61%
D. 50%
E. It is impossible to say without additional information.
Difficulty: Medium

56. Approximately how long will it take to produce the 15th unit?
A. 4.3 hours
B. 5.5 hours
C. 4.7 hours
D. 6.9 hours
E. 3.4 hours
Difficulty: Medium

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Chapter 07S - Learning Curves

57. Which unit, if any, will require approximately one-half the time of the first unit?
A. 18th unit
B. 19th unit
C. 20th unit
D. 21st unit
E. 22nd unit
Difficulty: Medium

58. Approximately how long will it take to produce the last ten units?
A. 33 hours
B. 69 hours
C. 45 hours
D. 38 hours
E. It is impossible to say without additional information.
Difficulty: Medium

A manager wants to analyze the learning curve associated with producing one of his company's products.
Accordingly, he has gathered the following data:

59. What is the learning curve percentage?


A. 40%.
B. 50%.
C. 75%.
D. 80%.
E. 90%.
Difficulty: Medium

60. How long did it take to produce the first unit?


A. 5 hours
B. 6 hours
C. 6.25 hours
D. 6.33 hours
E. 6.5 hours
Difficulty: Medium

61. Approximately how long did it take to produce the first four units?
A. 15 hours
B. 16 hours
C. 18 hours
D. 20 hours
E. 21 hours
Difficulty: Medium

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Chapter 07S - Learning Curves

62. Approximately how long will it take to produce the tenth unit?
A. 1 hour
B. 2 hours
C. 3 hours
D. 4 hours
E. 5 hours
Difficulty: Medium

63. Approximately how long will it take to produce the fifth through tenth units?
A. 15 hours
B. 16 hours
C. 18 hours
D. 20 hours
E. 21 hours
Difficulty: Medium

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