Applying the Science of Learning

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A concrete guide to the science of learning, instruction, and assessment written in a friendly tone and presented in a dynamic format.

The underlying premise of Applying the Science of Learning is that educators can better help students learn if they understand the processes through which student learning takes place. In this clear and concise first edition text, educational psychology scholar Richard Mayer teaches readers how to apply the science of learning through understanding the reciprocal relationships between learning, instruction, and assessment.

Utilizing the significant advances in scientific learning research over the last 25 years, this introductory text identifies the features of science of learning that are most relevant to education, explores the possible prescriptions of these findings for instructional methods, and highlights the essentials of evaluating instructional effectiveness through assessment. Applying the Science of Learning is also presented in an easy-to-read modular design and with a conversational tone — making it particularly student-friendly, whether it is being used as a supplement to a core textbook or as a standalone course text.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780136117575
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 2/26/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 374,011
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard E. Mayer is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research interests include educational and cognitive psychology. He received the E. L. Thorndike Award for career achievement in educational psychology and the Distinguished Contribution of Applications of Psychology to Education and Training Award from the American Psychological Association. He is the author of numerous publications and 23 books, including Multimedia Learning (Cambridge, 2009), Learning and Instruction (Prentice Hall, 2008), E-Learning and the Science of Instruction (Pfeiffer, 2008) with Ruth Clark.

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Table of Contents



1. The Big Three: Learning, Instruction, Assessment

2. Rationale for Applying the Science of Learning

3. What Is Applying the Science of Learning?

4. Historical Overview of the Relation Between the Science of Learning and the Science of Instruction

5. Viewing the Relation Between the Science of Learning and the Science of Instruction as Overlapping Goals

Suggested Readings and References

How Learning Works

1. What Is Learning?

2. What is the Science of Learning?

3a. What Changes: Behavior or Knowledge?

3b. What Changes: General or Specific Transfer?

4. How Learning Works: Three Metaphors of Learning

4a. A Closer Look at Response Strengthening: Thorndike’s Law of Effect

4b. A Closer Look at Information Acquisition: Ebbinghaus’ Learning Curve

4c. A Closer Look at Knowledge Construction: Bartlett’s Assimilation to Schema

5. How Learning Works: Three Principles from the Learning Sciences

5a. A Closer Look at Dual Channels: Paivio Concreteness Effect

5b. A Closer Look at Limited Capacity: Miller’s Magic Number 7

5c. A Closer Look at Active Learning: Wittrock”s Generative Processes

6. How Learning Works: A Cognitive Model of Learning

6a. Three Memory Stores in Meaningful Learning

6b. Three Cognitive Processes in Meaningful Learning

7. The Mighty Ms: Motivation and Metacognition

7a. Motivation to Learn

7b. How Motivation Works

7c. Metacognition in Learning

8. Learning in Subject Areas

9. Eight Things We Know About Learning from Word Lists

References and Suggested Readings

How Instruction Works

1. What Is Instruction?

2. What Is the Science of Instruction?

3. What Is an Instructional Objective?

3a. Three Levels of Instructional Objectives

3b. Five Kinds of Knowledge in Instructional Objectives

3c. Six Kinds of Cognitive Processes in Instructional Objectives

4. How Instruction Works: Three Demands on Cognitive Capacity

5. How Instruction Works: Three Instructional Scenarios

6. Twelve Instructional Design Principles for Lesson Learning

6a. Evidence-Based Principles for Reducing Extraneous Processing

6b. Evidence-Based Principles for Managing Essential Processing

6c. Evidence-Based Principles for Fostering Generative Processing

7. Eight Instructional Design Principles for Effective Studying

7a. Evidence-Based Principles for Studying by Practicing

7b. Evidence-Based Principles for Studying by Generating

8. How to Guide Cognitive Processing During Learning

8a. Instructional Techniques for Selecting

8b. Instructional Techniques for Organizing

8c. Instructional Techniques for Integrating

9. Three Popular But Questionable Principles

10a. How Active Teaching Methods Can Go Wrong

10b. Two Kinds of Active Learning

References and Suggested Readings

How Assessment Works

1. What Is Assessment?

1a. Three Functions of Assessments

2. What Is the Science of Assessment?

2a. Using Instructional Objectives in Assessment

2b. How to Construct a Useful Assessment Instrument

3. What Is Research on Instructional Effects?

3a. What Works? Using Randomized Controlled Experiments

3b. When Does It Work? Using Factorial Experiments

3c. How Does It Work? Using Observational Analysis

4. A Closer Look at Experiments

4a. Using Effect Size to Assess Instructional Effects

4b. Six Reasons for No Difference Between the Treatment and Control Groups

5. How to Assess Learning Outcomes

5a. Two Ways to Measure Learning Outcomes

5b. Three Kinds of Learning Outcomes

6a. A Closer Look at Meaningful Versus Rote Learning: Wertheimer’s Parallelogram Lesson

6b. A Closer Look at Assessment of Learning Outcomes: How Much or What Kind?

7. Broadening the Domain of Assessment

8. A Closer Look at Broadening the Domain of Assessment: Attribute Treatment Interactions

8a. Attribute Treatment Interactions Involving Prior Knowledge

9. What Can Go Wrong with Assessments?

References and Suggested Readings


About the Author


Author Index

Subject Index

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