A desirable difficulty is a learning task that requires a considerable but desirable amount of effort, thereby improving long-term performance.

(“Desirable Difficulty” 2022)

Examples include:

  1. Retrieval practice (eg: flashcards, see Anki)
  2. Spacing and interleaving (eg: Spaced Repetition)

To determine whether a difficulty is desirable, use the following three guidelines:

  1. The processing at encoding should be the same as the processing at retrieval.
  2. The processing at encoding should be the same as the processing during practice.
  3. The task must be able to be accomplished. Too difficult a task may dissuade the learner and prevent full processing.

(“Desirable Difficulty” 2022)

References

“Desirable Difficulty.” 2022. Wikipedia, January. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Desirable_difficulty&oldid=1065561009.