How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching
April 2010, Jossey-Bass
"How Learning Works is the perfect title for this
excellent book. Drawing upon new research in psychology, education,
and cognitive science, the authors have demystified a complex topic
into clear explanations of seven powerful learning principles. Full
of great ideas and practical suggestions, all based on solid
research evidence, this book is essential reading for instructors
at all levels who wish to improve their students' learning."
—Barbara Gross Davis, assistant vice chancellor for educational development, University of California, Berkeley, and author, Tools for Teaching
"This book is a must-read for every instructor, new or
experienced. Although I have been teaching for almost thirty years,
as I read this book I found myself resonating with many of its
ideas, and I discovered new ways of thinking about teaching."
—Eugenia T. Paulus, professor of chemistry, North Hennepin Community College, and 2008 U.S. Community Colleges Professor of the Year from The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education
"Thank you Carnegie Mellon for making accessible what has
previously been inaccessible to those of us who are not learning
scientists. Your focus on the essence of learning combined with
concrete examples of the daily challenges of teaching and clear
tactical strategies for faculty to consider is a welcome work. I
will recommend this book to all my colleagues."
—Catherine M. Casserly, senior partner, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
"As you read about each of the seven basic learning principles
in this book, you will find advice that is grounded in learning
theory, based on research evidence, relevant to college teaching,
and easy to understand. The authors have extensive knowledge and
experience in applying the science of learning to college teaching,
and they graciously share it with you in this organized and
—From the Foreword by Richard E. Mayer, professor of psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara; coauthor, e-Learning and the Science of Instruction; and author, Multimedia Learning
Foreword (Richard E. Mayer).
About the Authors.
Introduction Bridging Learning Research and Teaching Practice.
1 How Does Students' Prior Knowledge Affect Their Learning?
2 How Does the Way Students Organize Knowledge Affect Their Learning?
3 What Factors Motivate Students to Learn?
4 How Do Students Develop Mastery?
5 What Kinds of Practice and Feedback Enhance Learning?
6 Why Do Student Development and Course Climate Matter for Student Learning?
7 How Do Students Become Self-Directed Learners?
Conclusion Applying the Seven Principles to Ourselves.
Appendix A What Is Student Self-Assessment and How Can We Use It?
Appendix B What Are Concept Maps and How Can We Use Them?
Appendix C What Are Rubrics and How Can We Use Them?
Appendix D What Are Learning Objectives and How Can We Use Them?
Appendix E What Are Ground Rules and How Can We Use Them?
Appendix F What Are Exam Wrappers and How Can We Use Them?
Appendix G What Are Checklists and How Can We Use Them?
Appendix H What Is Reader Response/Peer Review and How Can We Use It?
Michael W. Bridges is director of faculty development at UPMC St. Margaret Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Michele DiPietro is associate director for graduate programs at the Eberly Center and instructor in the Department of Statistics at Carnegie Mellon.
Marsha C. Lovett is associate director for faculty development at the Eberly Center and associate teaching professor in the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon.
Marie K. Norman is a teaching consultant and research associate at the Eberly Center and adjunct professor of anthropology at Carnegie Mellon.
The Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence at Carnegie Mellon University was created in 1982 with a mission to distill the research on learning for faculty and graduate students and to collaborate with them to design and implement meaningful educational experiences. The center's work is based on the idea that combining the science and art of teaching empowers college faculty to create the conditions for students to learn and, through this learning, transform their world.