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Make It Stick

The Science of Successful Learning

Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel

ISBN 9780674729018

Publication date: 04/14/2014

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To most of us, learning something “the hard way” implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. Make It Stick turns fashionable ideas like these on their head. Drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, the authors offer concrete techniques for becoming more productive learners.

Memory plays a central role in our ability to carry out complex cognitive tasks, such as applying knowledge to problems never before encountered and drawing inferences from facts already known. New insights into how memory is encoded, consolidated, and later retrieved have led to a better understanding of how we learn. Grappling with the impediments that make learning challenging leads both to more complex mastery and better retention of what was learned.

Many common study habits and practice routines turn out to be counterproductive. Underlining and highlighting, rereading, cramming, and single-minded repetition of new skills create the illusion of mastery, but gains fade quickly. More complex and durable learning come from self-testing, introducing certain difficulties in practice, waiting to re-study new material until a little forgetting has set in, and interleaving the practice of one skill or topic with another. Speaking most urgently to students, teachers, trainers, and athletes, Make It Stick will appeal to all those interested in the challenge of lifelong learning and self-improvement.

Praise

  • If you want to read a lively and engaging book on the science of learning, this is a must… Make It Stick benefits greatly from its use of stories about people who have achieved mastery of complex knowledge and skills. Over the course of the book, the authors weave together stories from an array of learners—surgeons, pilots, gardeners, and school and university students—to illustrate their arguments about how successful learning takes place… This is a rich and resonant book and a pleasurable read that will leave you pondering the processes through which you, and your students, acquire new knowledge and skills.

    —Hazel Christie, Times Higher Education

Authors

  • Peter C. Brown is a writer and former management consultant.
  • Henry L. Roediger III is James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Mark A. McDaniel is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Integrative Research on Cognition, Learning, and Education (CIRCLE) at Washington University in St. Louis.

Book Details

  • 336 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press

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