Make It Stick

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Harvard University Press, Apr 14, 2014 - Education - 313 pages
22 Reviews

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.


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Review: Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

User Review  - Jeremy Thompson - Goodreads

One of the best books on learning I've read in a while and a clear writing style. It loses a star for being a bit repetitive, though repetition was one of the points of the book. The overarching theme is that learning that is effortful is more lasting. Read full review

Review: Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

User Review  - Derek Winterburn - Goodreads

This a longish book with some simple messages. One of which is learning is done well with 'spaced repetition' - hence the length of the book! The authors contend that learning (aka remembering) is ... Read full review


1 Learning Is Misunderstood
2 To Learn Retrieve
3 Mix Up Your Practice
4 Embrace Difficulties
5 Avoid Illusions of Knowing
6 Get Beyond Learning Styles
7 Increase Your Abilities
8 Make It Stick
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About the author (2014)

Peter C. Brown is a writer and novelist in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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.

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