Tweet: Desirable difficulties and learning


The concept of “desirable difficulties” was developed by Robert Bjork of UCLA. In his research, he noticed various kinds of experimental phenomena which indicated the emergence of 2 predominant patterns in learning.
They are:
  1. Conditions of instruction or practice (learning) that make performance improve rapidly often fail to support long term retention and transfer. Whereas,
  2. Conditions of instruction or practice(learning) that appear to create difficulties for the learner, slowing the rate of apparent learning, often optimizes long term retention and transfer.
The first one accelerates the learning(Or speeds up learning), the second one slows down learning by introducing difficulties that benefit long term retention and transfer. These difficulties are what Robert BJORK Calls Desirable difficulties.
{Retention means having the information stored in long-term memory in such a way that it can be readily retrievedTransfer refers to learning in one context and applying it to another.}
The difficulties in the latter category are called desirable difficulties because they enhance the very goal of learning, ie retention and transferThey are difficulties because they pose challenges and they slow down the rate of performance.

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