Desirable Difficulties: The Relationship Between Perceived Mental Effort and Perceived Effectiveness and the Effect of Monitoring Accuracy
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Students try to avoid effortful studying by choosing methods that give a feeling of fluency. This is misleading since they give a feeling of effectiveness but are less effective. Methods that require higher mental effort are more effective since they give better long-term results. However, high experienced effort leads to a lower feeling of effectiveness. Therefore, the relationship between perceived mental effort and perceived effectiveness was examined. How well someone monitors their learning can influence this relationship. Thereupon, it was examined if monitoring accuracy has a moderating effect on the relationship between mental effort and effectiveness. To further investigate the field of desirable difficulties, blocked and interleaved studying were examined. Interleaving is more effective than blocked practice. With a regression analysis evidence was found for the negative influence of mental effort on perceived effectiveness when studying interleaved. This means that students who have higher mental effort experience lower effectiveness. Monitoring accuracy has not been found to be a moderator but does directly influence perceived effectiveness for interleaved practice. So, students that monitor studying better think interleaving is effective. No significant results were found for blocked practice, possibly due to greater influences of other cues for indicating effectiveness.