Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

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

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Robert Bjork
This is a quite remarkable book. It describes important research findings with startling implications for how we can improve our own learning, teaching, and coaching. Even more, it shows us how more positive attitudes toward our own abilities—and the willingness to tackle the hard stuff—enables us to achieve our goals. The compelling stories bring the ideas out of the lab and into the real world.
The Brilliant blog - Annie Murphy Paul
If I could, I would assign all professors charged with teaching undergraduates one book: Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning… It lays out what we know about the science of learning in clear, accessible prose. Every educator—and parent, and student, and professional—ought to have it on their own personal syllabus.
Times Higher Education - Hazel Christie
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.
Chronicle of Higher Education - James M. Lang
Many educators are interested in making use of recent findings about the human brain and how we learn… Make It Stick [is] the single best work I have encountered on the subject. Anyone with an interest in teaching or learning will benefit from reading this book, which not only presents thoroughly grounded research but does so in an eminently readable way that is accessible even to students.
Psychology Today - Glenn C. Altschuler
Aimed primarily at students, parents, and teachers, Make It Stick also offers practical advice for learners of all ages, at all stages of life… With its credible challenge to conventional wisdom, Make It Stick does point the way forward, with a very real prospect of tangible and enduring benefits.
TD Magazine - Stephanie Castellano
Presents a compelling case for why we are attracted to the wrong strategies for learning and teaching—and what we can do to remedy our approaches… In clear language, Make It Stick explains the science underlying how people learn. But the authors don’t simply recite the research; they show readers how it is applied in real-life learning scenarios, with engaging stories of real people in academic, professional, and sports environments… The learning strategies proposed in this book can be implemented immediately, at no cost, and to great effect… Make It Stick will help you become a much more productive learner.
Business Insider - Drake Baer
For a deeper dig into the science of learning, make sure to pick up Make It Stick. It’s an illuminating read.
Daniel L. Schacter
Learning is essential and life-long. Yet as these authors argue convincingly, people often use exactly the wrong strategies and don't appreciate the ones that work. We’ve learned a lot in the last decade about applying cognitive science to real-world learning, and this book combines everyday examples with clear explanations of the research. It’s easy to read—and should be easy to learn from, too!

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5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Peter C. Brown is a writer and novelist in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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.

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Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KenTeach More than 1 year ago
If you are a student, you should read this book. If you are a teacher, you must read this book. Authors Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel cover the latest research (and some research that's been around for decades, but for some reason hasn't become widespread educational practice) and make it understandable.  Why do students say, even thought they've studied the night before, they drew a blank on the day of the test? It's the fluency illusion. High-stakes testing is bad, sure, but frequent low-stakes quizzes that require students to pull information from memory (not just recognize it, as on a multiple-choice question) is the way to make the info stick. It's hip right now to dismiss "mere" memorization as not really learning. But you need something in your noggin to use those higher order thinking skills on. And having factual knowledge embedded in long-term memory, and easily retrievable, allows for chunking, which allows real high-powered thinking to take off. The more we learn, the more possible connections we create for further learning. It really makes sense to concentrate on improving one skill at a time, right? Work on that skill until you get it down, then move on to the next. Actually, nope. The more you know about the topic, the better you can teach it, right? Nope, again. It's the curse of knowledge. Oh, and in case you haven't been paying attention, there is evidence for learning styles, but probably not the ones you're familiar with. This book is a must have for anyone who wants to teach or learn better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago