Mark Mrohs Consulting

Training professionals since 1983


Learning Requires Effort

Posted on August 3, 2016 at 4:50 PM

Here is a nice 8 minute presentation by a cognitive science professor at USC that lays out current thinking about there being a difference between Performance and Learning, and how real long term learning requires some effort.

I understood that intuitively my whole life, and it became factually based for me while getting my Masters in Education. You can't just download knowlege into people's brains (ala The Matrix); to actually know something, you have to put in some effort, that is what makes and then strengthens the neural connections in your brain to that knowledge.

But this short presentation nicely explains some of the science behind 'effortful learning', or what these academics call 'desirable difficulty'...It sounds like jargon, but the presentation is short and clear, and is aligned with my philosophy.

For example, one way to introduce 'difficulty' into a learning program is to be Socratic, and incrementally introduce new information through questions rather than just presenting information, so that the learner must think first, make some effort, and then proceed to get the info explained. Another is to have the learning be based mostly on their own application, even through trial and error, rather than just verbal exchanges.

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