Unleashing desirable difficulties can be scary.
Yes, retrieval practice, spacing, interleaving, and feedback can seem intimidating. Don't get spooked! Here are 3 reasons why you shouldn't let these "desirable difficulties" scare you off. Strategies that challenge learning aren't tricks – they're treats! They make for very (candy) corny puns, too.
P.S. Only a few more days until our upcoming webinar. Have you registered yet? It's going to be spooktacular. We can feel it in our bones. Happy Halloween!
Three Reasons Why
You Shouldn't Be a Scaredy Cat
When it comes to teaching, easy strategies (like reviewing content) lead to short-term learning, whereas slower effortful strategies (like retrieval practice) lead to long-term learning. Desirable difficulties challenge learning – and that's a good thing! In fact, these strategies are fang-tastic! Here's why:
#1: We already use desirable difficulties in our classrooms.
Retrieving what we know, spacing it out over time, mixing it up, and giving our students feedback are no-brainers! They're intuitive strategies and that’s what makes them so simple and flexible. And they're not new – 100 years of research demonstrate they significantly improve learning. Dust off the cobwebs and use these evidence-based strategies that have stood the test of time.
#2: You don't have to spend more time grading.
Eek, grading! It's like a vampire that's a pain in the neck. Will retrieval, spacing, interleaving, or feedback increase grading time? No! In fact, keeping these strategies as grade-free as possible lowers the stakes and increases learning. In fact, try to remove grades all together. There’s no need to collect papers, assign points, or enter anything into the gradebook. Boo-tiful!
#3: You'll save class time, not spend it.
We've said this before and we'll say it again: Engaging students in challenges now might take a candy corn size amount of time in class, but in the long-term, a full-size candy bar might just appear out of nowhere. In other words, if students are engaged in retrieval practice activities for one minute, they'll remember more and you can reteach less. That's something you can Count on!