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.
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About 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.
Table of Contents
1 Learning Is Misunderstood 1
2 To Learn, Retrieve 23
3 Mix Up Your Practice 46
4 Embrace Difficulties 67
5 Avoid Illusions of Knowing 102
6 Get Beyond Learning Styles 131
7 Increase Your Abilities 162
8 Make It Stick 200
Suggested Reading 285
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.