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Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning (2014)

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

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7771523,232 (4.13)2
"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." -- Publisher's description.… (more)
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» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
We'll see how much of it will actually stick ;-) ( )
  cloidl | May 20, 2022 |
Well written and interesting. This should give teachers something to think about at all level, but also, this should induce institutional reflections on how colleges and universities might be doing things that impede learning rather than help. ( )
  SocProf9740 | Jul 11, 2021 |
first book of the year!
the 3 main principles in this book are spaced repetition, active recall & self-testing
Most of the contents of this book weren't new to me, as I love effective learning. But definitely still worth the read if you want more background on the science.

Some things that I took away from this book:
- "Practice like you play, because you will play like you practice"
- Growth Mindset: effort > intelligence

Every educator/teacher needs to read this book & I definitely start to notice the behaviour of my professors who try to implement the strategies in this book (and i respect them more for it) ( )
  wendy.reads | Jan 26, 2021 |
This is a great book about learning theory. A lot of it is support/justification for basic rules, but I'm willing to accept that. However, you can pretty easily summarize the entire book very briefly if you're willing to just accept the conclusions.

Basically: memory and learning depend on active engagement, not just massed rote practice. Intermediate tests and quizzes, even things so simple as filling in a couple of missing letters of a word, or rephrasing a fact in your own words, can be much more effective, but the most effective is building a mental model and being able to reason with it. For things without internal structure, artificial structure can be imposed (associating numbers with arbitrary images, constructing 'memory palaces', the method of loci, etc. Rather than massed practice of a single subject, interleaved practice of multiple subjects, combined with "deliberate practice", can be both more effective and more efficient.

What I find interesting is how differently people treat learning when it's actually important (vocational skills, combat, even competitive sports or video games), vs. where the exercise is externally imposed and perfunctory (most formal education for most people). ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
As usual, a mashup of existing (and overused) studies.
But the way it's put together, the practical implications and the narrating makes it worth reading.
( )
  jbrieu | Nov 6, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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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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"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." -- Publisher's description.

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