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How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching



How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching


Praise for How Learning Works

"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 readable book."
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

List of Figures, Tables, and Exhibits ix

Foreword xiii
Richard E. Mayer

Acknowledgments xvii

About the Authors xix

Introduction Bridging Learning Research and Teaching Practice 1

1 How Does Students’ Prior Knowledge Affect Their Learning? 10

2 How Does the Way Students Organize Knowledge Affect Their Learning? 40

3 What Factors Motivate Students to Learn? 66

4 How Do Students Develop Mastery? 91

5 What Kinds of Practice and Feedback Enhance Learning? 121

6 Why Do Student Development and Course Climate Matter for Student Learning? 153

7 How Do Students Become Self-Directed Learners? 188

Conclusion Applying the Seven Principles to Ourselves 217


Appendix A What Is Student Self-Assessment and How Can We Use It? 225

Appendix B What Are Concept Maps and How Can We Use Them? 228

Appendix C What Are Rubrics and How Can We Use Them? 231

Appendix D What Are Learning Objectives and How Can We Use Them? 244

Appendix E What Are Ground Rules and How Can We Use Them? 248

Appendix F What Are Exam Wrappers and How Can We Use Them? 251

Appendix G What Are Checklists and How Can We Use Them? 255

Appendix H What Is Reader Response/Peer Review and How Can We Use It? 257

References 261

Name Index 285

Subject Index 291