The lead researcher,Nate Cornell , shared his findings that we actually learn and retain more information when challenged to understand it all at once. He found students did not do as well on tests studying material they perceived as easy to understand given in smaller pieces.
Cornell suggests that students perform better on tests learning larger amounts of information at once even though they feel less successful while studying. He described ‘desired difficulty’ as the studying strategy leading to greater retention of information.
Interesting findings here! We intuitively think the easier the learning task the better we will do on it. Should we be surprised that when challenged with more difficult learning tasks we actually show greater academic success? I would suggest that we set the bar higher and expect our children and students to meet or exceed our expectations.
Anyone have a prediction on how beginning reading could be influenced by this research? What differences might we find if we started teaching children using all their high frequency words at once using”one big stack” as opposed to slow exposure to a few each week or day? How might phonics in context all at once as opposed to a ‘systematic difficulty approach’ be more helpful for the new reader?
Do I dare say…Future research studies on the horizon?