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Make It Stick: The Science of Successful…

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

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

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If you love learning about learning, you'll want to read this. ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
We’re often tempted to cram, but that’s an ineffective strategy for true learning, which requires interrupted/varied practice and things like quick quizzes or flashcards—effortful retrieval and the process of putting concepts into our own words enhance learning, even if they feel less helpful than rereading the material or “mass practice” (solving a bunch of the same type of problems at once). Repetition alone increases the feeling of knowledge, but not the reality—I was charmed by the example of trying to figure out which of various images is the real image of a penny (google “penny test”). You’ve seen it zillions of times, but that doesn’t mean you know it. People resist this conclusion because they feel like repetition and “massed practice” helps, but the studies consistently show it doesn’t. That sense of struggle that comes from delayed/interleaved practice is actually a sign of enhanced learning. The authors advocate low-stakes quizzing and self-testing; I’m still thinking about how to implement low-stakes quizzing in a larger classroom. (I have to confess that I did very little of my own studying using the recommended techniques, at least consciously. I usually relied on raw processing power, though I did take a lot of notes and I do believe that writing stuff down in your own words is a great way to learn the concepts better.) I loved the authors’ analogy between beginning learning and a bad first draft, since I’m a huge believer in forcing oneself to produce a bad first draft as a way to get to the good final draft. ( )
  rivkat | Jul 3, 2016 |
Fantastic book. Covers the research literature of how people learn best and explains how you can use this information to learn better or to teach better. Easy to read and digest, only eight chapters. Final chapter includes real-life case studies and tips for implementation. ( )
  Pferdina | Jun 19, 2016 |
The author's thesis is that many of the things that we assume about studying and learning are in fact wrong. He then explains what we have learned about how the brain works and discusses what techniques work and why. He also explains why study techniques like repeatedly rereading and underlining, then reviewing the underlined passages don't work even though we believe they do.

The book is a pretty easy read. Brown basically tells you what works early on, then spends the bulk of the book fleshing it out, telling you why some things work and some don't, reviewing the science and interspersing it with stories aimed at helping the reader relate to the content. Then in the end he reiterates his main points, with more examples of people who use the techniques and how they have helped them.

It seems like there is a lot of fluff in the book, but ultimately it is necessary as the fluff hides the patterns, which is the point. The reader has to sift through the story and reflect on the meaning, which feels frustrating, but which also aids in learning. Brown points out that an author is a storyteller. We relate to information through stories, and it is through our own adaptation and interpretation of those stories that we write our own stories, which help us ultimately to retain the information. But in order to write our own version of the story, we have to understand the underlying principles. We have to think about the story, not just copy and memorize a list of points. The book is worth the time spent on it. ( )
1 vote dooney | Jan 11, 2016 |
A bit long winded. But nevertheless, an excellent book on learning and how to do it effectively. ( )
  jvgravy | Nov 12, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter C. Brownprimary authorall editionscalculated
McDaniel, Mark A.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Roediger III, Henry L.main authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0674729013, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:15 -0400)

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