As I was waking up with my morning coffee, I stumbled upon an article about a new, scientifically designed font. The font intentionally makes reading the text a little more difficult. And the reason it does this so is so you won’t forget the content.
“Sans Forgetica” means, you guessed it, “Without Forgetting.”
The principle behind the design is called “Desirable Difficultly.” I guess I haven’t been keeping up with the educational research, or I’ve forgotten it, but this concept was credited to Robert Bjork back in 1994. The basic idea is this: introducing difficulties into the learning process can significantly improve long-term retention of the materials learned.
Some examples of employing this technique in the classroom include: (1) spacing learning sessions apart – I guess that makes one review the material sequentially before the next lesson is given so you’ll know what the teacher is talking about; (2) more testing – although that seems old school; (3) generating – having learners produce the target material through an active process like making a puzzle; (4) varying – switching up learning environments; (5) disorganization – scrambling the material; and (6) fonts – making the material slightly harder to read. Thus, San Forgetica.
I guess disorganization was part of the secret when I was in law school. The instructors intentionally played “hide-the-ball” to force us to search out the answers.
Apparently deeper processing of material is better for us, and the long-standing approach to education of reducing material to its simplest form and spoon-feeding it to us has really been to our detriment. The theorists supporting the theory of desirable difficulty go into a lengthy explanation of the differences between learning versus performance and retrieval strength versus storage strength.
I won’t go into all of that scientific analysis, but if you wish to read more, you can read this short article in Psychology Today – Desirable Difficulties in the Classroom. And, here is link to a chapter of a book about learning authored by Elizabeth and Robert Bjork – Making Things Hard on Yourself, But in a Good Way: Creating Desirable Difficulties to Enhance Learning.
I guess this theory gives new meaning to the old adage of having to “learn things the hard way.”
And if you would like to download the font, you can find that here: Sans Forgetica. I downloaded it, but apparently WordPress doesn’t support it so I can’t write this text in that font, but I was able to add it to my photo to give you this example.
More fun for the world of writing 🙂
Photo: This pic is a one-second timed exposure during a fireworks display. I just kept taking shots with the camera locked on a tripod and I eventually got some goods ones that froze that blink-of-an-eye flare of burning gunpowder 🙂