How to stop (sans) forgetting what you've read

Joel Smith |    | 2 min read

It’s rare that something truly new comes along in any industry. And for the professional Learning & Development industry – often just called ‘L&D’ by those of us in said industry – new inventions are almost unheard of.


Certainly, right now everyone is excited about gamified micro-learning. But really that’s just fusing the new/old science of spaced repetition (circa 1885) with video game design, delivered on mobile devices – an example of innovation, not invention.


That’s why I was so excited to discover Sans Forgetica – a new font developed by RMIT University in Melbourne Australia designed to help learners better memorise the material they read.


In my experience, Sans Forgetica is an entirely new.


And what I love about it is that anyone with a computer can use it for their own learning purposes. Gotta love academia pushing the world forward!


So the font itself is cool, but what’s even more interesting is how they created it. Dr Janneke Blijlevens and Dr Jo Peryman (nee Laban) from RMIT’s Behavioural Business Lab collaborated with RMIT typographer, Stephen Banham, basing their approach on the idea of ‘desirable difficulty’.


You can read more about the details of their approach – and download the font – at the San Forgetica website, but essentially the idea is to make the learner’s brain work just a bit harder so as to find the sweet-spot where the effort of learning is not so arduous so as to be demotivating, but not so easy as to be forgettable.


I’m grooving on this idea of desirable difficulty, because I think it’s a great articulation of what we at Yarno strive to achieve with the content we create for our clients.


We truly want to shift behaviours of our learners to produce better outcomes. And to do that we have to find ways to challenge them to make better decisions without overwhelming them.


It seems an oxymoron to desire difficulty. It expresses the nature of the tricky balance Yanro works hard to achieve for our clients; easy content is ineffective and difficult content is dejecting.  But desirably difficult content challenges and motivates simultaneously.


And now there’s a new font, created right here in Australia, that can help us achieve desirable difficulty with not only the words we write, but the actual words themselves! Thank you RMIT.


It’s truly a great time to be an L&D geek…

Joel Smith

About the author

Joel heads up the Content team at Yarno. He’s our culture sensei, resident philosopher and Apple power user extraordinaire. Oh, and he writes some pretty mean questions too.

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