We often talk about challenge as if it is a clear idea that everyone understands; my experience is rather different. Its definition alludes us. For this reason, over the course of three articles I want to set out a definition that is deep enough to have durability but flexible enough to be used as a basis for all curriculum design work.
Challenge as architecture
We do not think deeply enough about the meaning of challenge. It is common to find articles about challenge citing research from cognitive science such as Bjork’s theory of desirable difficulties (2020) or Sweller’s cognitive load theory (Lovell, 2020; Sweller et al, 2011); sometimes Dweck’s work on growth mindset too (Dweck, 2016).
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