The spacing effect is a desirable difficulty for learning (along with the testing effect) that helps produce long lasting, durable memory traces, but has also been ignored in education. The spacing effect is when the learning of material takes place over long periods of time. Usually, when we teach something, we concentrate the presentation of related information in a short amount of time. Once that information is learned, we move on to different information. Longer lasting and more durable memory traces result from the spacing of the learning of information in time.
When the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, recently passed away, it brought her signature song, “Respect,” and its uplifting ode to both feminism and human rights back into light. Acquiring respect was Aretha’s watchword.
I watched the movie McQueen recently and felt compelled to write this article. The movie is about the deceased, genius, fashion designer (Lee) Alexander McQueen. It was mostly autobiographical, detailing his journey as a punk kid, son of a London taxi driver, who started his career as a tailoring apprentice on Saville Row and became one of the most respected (not necessarily loved) fashion designers in history. His garments were equal parts dark and beautiful. They were controversial, but if you looked past the obvious subversion you could see tailoring that was second-to-none and an eye for design and detail that was purely unique to him.
This piece presents a very different view of education. Contributed to my current class by Aaron Chubb (one of my students) this week as a part of my class. I thought that it was really interesting.
Among the desirable difficulties that can be introduced into a classroom to enhance memorization, disfluency stands out as being particularly unintuitive.
I meet and talk to multiple individuals who have sacrificed the 9-5 grind gladly for a chance to be an entrepreneur, to become their own boss, to grow and thrive. Many of them think there is something wrong in their business and they need to find the magic formula to get the things solved.
The organization effect is the desirable difficulty that asks about who does the organization of the material. Teaching today usually has the teacher doing the reading for the students, organizing the material into nice little bullet-points, reading the bullet-points to the students, and finally, handing the bullet-points out to the students in class or having them print them themselves after making them available on a VLE. Such an efficient way of doing things is easy for everyone.