Desirable Difficulties in Learning Cognitive Mechanisms, Development Conditions and Effective Implementation in Class

Easily learned and quickly forgotten? Studies in cognitive psychology with adults have shown that newly acquired knowledge lasts longer and is more easily transferred to new contexts if learning processes are deliberately made more difficult. Does that apply to children, too? What cognitive mechanisms and developmental preconditions determine the effectiveness of such learning difficulties? Researchers from the fields of psychology and educational science are exploring those questions in the LOEWE research cluster “Desirable Difficulties” for learning in mathematics and natural sciences. They also wish to study the extent to which learning difficulties – such as the temporal distribution of practice or the alternation of various topics during learning – can be deliberately used in educational contexts to enhance retention of what is learnt.

LOEWE Research Cluster


  • University of Kassel

Fields of study

  • General Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Psychological Diagnostics
  • Social Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Didactics of Mathematics
  • Didactics of Biology
  • Empirical School and Teaching Research

Funding period

Since 2015

Project Coordinator

  • Prof. Dr. Mirjam Ebersbach, University of Kassel


  • Kassel

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