Productive Struggle: Using Cognitive Science to Enhance Learning
Nate Kornell (Williams College)
March 13, 2018
March 27, 2018 (rescheduled due to snow)
LC 102 CSB Auditorium
Cognitive Science Colloquium Series, 2017-2018
If you want to perform well tomorrow, you should make things hard on yourself today; as Frederick Douglass said, “without a struggle, there can be no progress.” I will talk about the value of struggle in education. My focus will be strategies that succeed in the long term by making students to do worse in the short term. These strategies are often unpopular, with both students and teachers, because they reveal students’ weaknesses and seem to slow learning down. Interventions that make things easier, like the use of “learning styles” in education, are more popular but less effective. I will talk about “desirable difficulties” like spacing learning sessions apart and taking tests as a way to learn. I will also talk about how to make these strategies more appealing to students by decreasing their failure rate without decreasing their learning.