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Make It Stick : The Science of Successful Learning - Peter C. Brown

Make It Stick

The Science of Successful Learning

By: Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger, Mark A. McDaniel

Hardcover | 14 April 2014 | Edition Number 1

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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.

About the 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.
Industry Reviews
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 *
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. -- James M. Lang * Chronicle of Higher Education *
We have made Make It Stick a touchstone for our instructors and gain a real advantage for our learners as they tackle some of the toughest work in the world. -- Carl Czech, former Senior Instructional Systems Specialist/Advisor, US Navy SEALs
It is surprising to me [that] we have such highly educated people coming to medical school who haven't thought that deeply about learning. I feel like we are teaching the gospel of Make it Stick during our first weeks with the students...With the immense time pressure you have as a medical student, the importance of these principles becomes very clear to them. -- Randall King, Harry C. McKenzie Professor of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School
It's an illuminating read...Learning ability is probably the most important skill you can have. Unfortunately, lots of the techniques for learning that we pick up in school don't help with long-term recall - like cramming or highlighting... For a deeper dig into the science of learning, make sure to pick up Make It Stick. -- Drake Baer * Business Insider *
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. -- Glenn C. Altschuler * Psychology Today *
Make It Stick will help you become a much more productive learner. [It] 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. -- Stephanie Castellano * TD Magazine *
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. -- Annie Murphy Paul, author of The Extended Mind
The authors have provided a great service for educators by capturing the important lessons from decades of research in the learning sciences...It should be highly recommended reading for anyone in the teaching, learning, and training professions. -- Robert H. Bruininks, Professor and President Emeritus, University of Minnesota
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. -- Robert Bjork, University of California, Los Angeles
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! -- Daniel L. Schacter, author of The Seven Sins of Memory
Anyone who teaches anything would benefit from reading this book: coaches, tutors, classroom teachers, parents, even corporate trainers. Instead of doing what we've always done and wondering why some learners just don't get it, we can take a different approach that's based on research, even if it seems counterintuitive. -- Jennifer Gonzales * Cult of Pedagogy *

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