Desirable difficulty (望ましい困難)
Desirable Difficulties: If at First You Don't Succeed
…You May Have Learned More than You Thought
Four Desirable Difficulties for Better Learning
1. Mix it up: Vary the Conditions of Practice
2. Space it out: Don't Cram for an Exam
Studying in one large cram session can be tempting.
But it isn't an optimal strategy for remembering over the long term.
Instead, having multiple practice or study sessions spaced in time allows you
to focus on learning smaller portions.
Focus on quality of understanding rather than the quantity of information
you cover during the session.
Each study session serves as a building block for the next session.
In that next session, think about what you covered in past study sessions.
Linking information in this way leads to deeper understanding.
It's a better way to study.
You build new avenues that support activation and access to that knowledge
in the future.
3. Alternate it: Interleave Study Topics and Tasks
4. Generate it: Test Yourself
Study better: Space it out and mix it up
How to learn more without studying more.
Posted Sep 15, 2010
Education isn't all about classrooms. Homework plays a huge role in student
learning. Given how much time we spend studying in a lifetime, and how hard
it is to find time to study, techniques that make studying more efficient--that is,
techniques that allow you to learn more in the same amount of time--can be
One of the most important study techniques that you don't know about is this:
Space your studying.
What does that mean? If you are going to study something two times (or more),
try to let as much time pass as possible between the first and second time
For example, don't read your textbook chapter and then review it on the same
day. Study it and then review it on a different day, and allow as much time to pass between the two study sessions as possible.
Better yet, spread your studying across numerous days.
You don't necessarily have to study more, you just have to distribute your study
When you sit down to study, mix up your topics--instead of studying one topic
per day, study every topic a little bit every day.
The science behind spacing
Research on the spacing effect began with the pioneering work of
Hermann Ebbinghaus in 1885. Ben Carey recently wrote about the benefits of
spacing in the New York Times.
Here is more information on three studies that demonstrate the benefits of
spacing out study trials and mixing up topics.
Study guides often recommend that student study vocabulary using small stacks
But a recent study showed that it's much more effective to study a large stacks
of flashcards every day.
Why? Because the more cards you have in your stack, the more time passes
before you go through the stack and return to a card you've studied before--that
is, larger stacks create more spacing.
Math and Science.
Math and science textbooks are usually organized one topic at a time.
You do fractions, then you do decimals. Again, this may be the worst possible way of organizing learning.
A study of geometry learning showed that people learn best when different topics
are mixed together.
Mixing problems means that you end up reviewing information you've studied
before after a spaced interval.
It also means that you can't necessarily solve the next problem the same way you solved the last one--you have to figure out how to approach each problem.
The bottom line is that problems sets don't usually include a mix of topics,
but they probably should.
What about learning something more conceptual? In a study about art and
cognition, participants were asked to learn the styles of various different painters. Participants studied 6 paintings per artist, and all of the paintings were different.
The paintings were presented either one artist at a time or all mixed up, skipping
back and forth between artists.
We thought presenting one artist at a time would highlight the crucial elements
that defined an artist's style, even if not at a conscious level (e.g., artist A favors
broad brush strokes, etc.) Thus, we predicted spacing would impair learning.
My research team had a combined 50 years experience studying the spacing
effect. We should have known better, because our prediction couldn't have been
more wrong. Spacing helped enormously.
You would think that there must be limitations to the value of spacing. If there are, they are hard to find.
Theory of mind (心の理論)
The Interface of Language and Theory of Mind
Jill de Villiers
Lingua. 2007 Nov; 117(11): 1858–1878.
The proposal is made that the interface between language and theory of mind
It seems probable that the conceptual developments of early Theory of Mind
form an essential basis for helping to fix at least word reference.
In development from two to four years, no basis exists in research for conclusions about the direction of influence between language and Theory of Mind.
At the stage of false belief reasoning, after age four, the role of the mastery of
syntactic complementation is highlighted as a representational tool, that is,
language development assists reasoning.
The paper presents a brief summary of Theory of Mind, ranging from its earliest
beginnings in infancy to the appreciation around age four years that others might
hold false beliefs and act according to them.
For each development, the parallel language developments are described, and
questions are raised about the interface between the two.
In particular, research that might determine the direction of influence from one
to the other is discussed.
More work is called for, especially with nonverbal tasks, good experimental
linguistic work, and other special populations, that might allow a more precise
delineation of how language and Theory of Mind interrelate at the interface.
Facebook's AI is learning language by reading loads of children's books
By Kelly Hodgkins — March 8, 2016 9:36 AM
Reading is the key to any successful language learning experience — just
ask Dr. Seuss: “The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
This correlation isn't just for human intelligence; it also applies to artificial
To boosts its fledgling AI system, Facebook is using a data set chock full of
children's literary classics such as Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book,
and more, reports New Scientist.
to decide what information users will see on their news feeds and automatically
tagging people in photos.
The AI team also is involved in other areas including the visual recognition of
media, language translation, speech recognition, and natural language (slang, idioms) understanding.
The literary classics fit into this language focus and are being used to gauge
how well the AI can understand what it is reading.
As part of these reading comprehension tests, the AI is presented with missing
words in a passage and is asked to fill in the correct options to complete
The better it understands the context and meaning of the passage,
the better it will score.
Language isn't the only area of AI development.
Another data set released last month revealed that the Facebook AI is studying
movie trivia, scouring the more than 108,000 questions lifted from online
Facebook also recently announced it is using its AI system to build detailed maps
that will be used by its Connectivity Lab, which is tasked with designing a satellite and possibly drone-based Internet system.
The AI is being used to identify buildings and other human-made structures
in satellite images.
Once identified, this building information is being combined with census data to
generate population density maps and more.