Desirable Difficulties: When Harder is Better for Learning - Deepstash

Keep reading for FREE

Hill Climbing : A Trap?

A key strategy for getting better at things is hill-climbing : try different things, keep doing the things that work, stop doing those that don’t.

It likely explains how we get better at many things simply by doing them repeatedly. Where this strategy runs into trouble, however, is when you need to do something worse before you can do it better.

Interestingly, learning itself seems to be one of these situations. The actions that improve your short-term performance on a task don’t always create much long-term improvement. Since short-term effects are easier to notice, this can create a trap.

67

364 reads

Desirable Difficulties

Psychologist Robert Bjork addresses this issue by calling for desirable difficulties : actions that appear to work worse in the short-term but work better in the long run. These include:

62

375 reads

Spacing

Spacing

1.Spacing .

  • Imagine you have to choose between practicing something ten times in a row vs. ten times spaced out (over hours or days).
  • The first feels easier—you will perform better immediately after practice. The second is harder but results in more permanent memory.
  • Yet students avoid spacing, in part, because it feels like it doesn’t work as well as cramming.

69

307 reads

Variability

2. Variability .

  • Say you’re learning tennis shots. Should you perfect your forehand swing before moving onto the backhand?
  • Or mix both up at the same time? Intuition argues for mastering one thing before moving onto the next, but research suggests otherwise.
  • Variable practice tends to result in better retention and transfer than blocked practice.

67

261 reads

Testing

3. Testing .

  • Should you re-read or do practice questions?
  • Students overwhelmingly favor re-reading as a learning strategy.
  • However, practice testing is one of the most effective learning methods that has been systematically studied, while re-reading is one of the worst.

69

232 reads

What Makes Difficulties Desirable?

What Makes Difficulties Desirable?

The exact mechanisms behind the value of desirable difficulties are still being debated.

  • Bjork argues that the benefits come from the difference between storage strength and retrieval strength in memory.
  • In his theory, what we learn is never erased from our minds.
  • Instead, we forget things as our ability to retrieve them becomes weaker through competition with other memories.

This theory says that successful access to hard-to-recall memory boosts retrieval strength more than if the memory was easier to access.

63

213 reads

Contextual Interference and Noticing Contrasts

Contextual Interference and Noticing Contrasts

There’s another possible benefit to practice variability.

  • When you mix practice between two similar ideas or concepts, you’re better able to notice the difference between the two.

L

64

269 reads

Math : Difficult

  • Math problems are often taught in a blocked fashion.
  • You learn some problem type and do it repeatedly until you’re good at it.
  • Then, you move onto a different type of problem and repeat the same process.

The issue with this blocked approach is that it doesn’t let you practice telling apart the different types of problems because, in each case, it’s obvious.

62

242 reads

CURATED BY

kokhul_736

Kokhulash.com

Desirable difficulties ?

Ready for the next level?

Read Like a Pro

stash-superman-illustration

Explore the World’s

Best Ideas

200,000+ ideas on pretty much any topic. Created by the smartest people around & well-organized so you can explore at will.

An Idea for Everything

Explore the biggest library of insights. And we've infused it with powerful filtering tools so you can easily find what you need.

Knowledge Library

Powerful Saving & Organizational Tools

Save ideas for later reading, for personalized stashes, or for remembering it later.

# Personal Growth

Take Your Ideas

Anywhere

Organize your ideas & listen on the go. And with Pro, there are no limits.

Listen on the go

Just press play and we take care of the words.

Never worry about spotty connections

No Internet access? No problem. Within the mobile app, all your ideas are available, even when offline.

Get Organized with Stashes

Ideas for your next work project? Quotes that inspire you? Put them in the right place so you never lose them.

Join

2 Million Stashers

4.8

Stars

5,740 Reviews

App Store

4.7

Stars

72,690 Reviews

Google Play

Ashley Anthony

This app is LOADED with RELEVANT, HELPFUL, AND EDUCATIONAL material. It is creatively intellectual, yet minimal enough to not overstimulate and create a learning block. I am exceptionally impressed with this app!

samz905

Don’t look further if you love learning new things. A refreshing concept that provides quick ideas for busy thought leaders.

Shankul Varada

Best app ever! You heard it right. This app has helped me get back on my quest to get things done while equipping myself with knowledge everyday.

Sean Green

Great interesting short snippets of informative articles. Highly recommended to anyone who loves information and lacks patience.

Ghazala Begum

Even five minutes a day will improve your thinking. I've come across new ideas and learnt to improve existing ways to become more motivated, confident and happier.

Jamyson Haug

Great for quick bits of information and interesting ideas around whatever topics you are interested in. Visually, it looks great as well.

Giovanna Scalzone

Brilliant. It feels fresh and encouraging. So many interesting pieces of information that are just enough to absorb and apply. So happy I found this.

Laetitia Berton

I have only been using it for a few days now, but I have found answers to questions I had never consciously formulated, or to problems I face everyday at work or at home. I wish I had found this earlier, highly recommended!

Read & Learn

20x Faster

without
deepstash

with
deepstash

with

deepstash

Access to 200,000+ ideas

Access to the mobile app

Unlimited idea saving & library

Unlimited history

Unlimited listening to ideas

Downloading & offline access

Personalized recommendations

FAQ

Claim Your Limited Offer

Get Deepstash Pro