Desirable Difficulties: When Harder is Better for Learning - Scott H Young - Deepstash

Bite-sized knowledge

to upgrade

your career

Ideas from books, articles & podcasts.

created 7 ideas

A Little Difficulty Is A Good Thing


Desirable Difficulties: When Harder is Better for Learning - Scott H Young

Desirable Difficulties: When Harder is Better for Learning - Scott H Young


402 reads


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.

The strategy is named because you can envision it as finding the highest spot ...

Getting Worse Before Getting Better

Interestingly, learning itself seems to be one of these situations where we need to do worse before we can do better.

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 creat...

Desirable Difficulties

Desirable difficulties are actions that appear to work worse in the short-term but work better in the long run.

These include:

Spacing. Practising something ten times in a row vs. ten times spaced out (over hours or days). The latter feels harder but results in more ...

Testing Yourself

Should you re-read or do practice questions? Students overwhelmingly favour 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.

We Remember Everything

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.

Successful access to hard-to-recall memory boosts retrieval strength more than if the memory was easier to access. It’s as if your ...

Mixing Concepts And Ideas

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

This discriminative account in favour of variable practice holds true for many problem-solving skills. Math problems are often taught in a blocked fashion. You learn so...

Cognitive load theory points out that many activities which increase the effort involved in learning tend to result in worse outcomes for typical students. These activities include solving problems you haven’t been taught how to solve, having to split your attention between different sources of i...

4 Reactions


It's time to




Jump-start your

reading habits

, gather your



remember what you read

and stay ahead of the crowd!

Takes just 5 minutes a day.


+2M Installs

4.7 App Score