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How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching Hardcover – May 17, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0470484104 ISBN-10: 0470484101 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (May 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470484101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470484104
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Any conversation about effective teaching must begin with a consideration of how students learn. However, instructors may find a gap between resources that focus on the technical research on learning and those that provide practical classroom strategies. How Learning Works provides the bridge for such a gap.

In this volume, the authors introduce seven general principles of learning, distilled from the research literature as well as from twenty-seven years of experience working one-on-one with college faculty. They have drawn on research from a breadth of perspectives (cognitive, developmental, and social psychology; educational research; anthropology; demographics; and organizational behavior) to identify a set of key principles underlying learning-from how effective organization enhances retrieval and use of information to what impacts motivation. These principles provide instructors with an understanding of student learning that can help them see why certain teaching approaches are or are not supporting student learning, generate or refine teaching approaches and strategies that more effectively foster student learning in specific contexts, and transfer and apply these principles to new courses.

For anyone who wants to improve his or her students' learning, it is crucial to understand how that learning works and how to best foster it. This vital resource is grounded in learning theory and based on research evidence, while being easy to understand and apply to college teaching.

From the Back Cover

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


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 57 customer reviews
The strategies provide practical ways that the principles can be implemented.
Reindert M Rus
I believe this book will help them to better understand why it is important for instruction to be presented to children in a specific way.
Gale48
There are plenty of great books out there on how to teach a college class, and now there's a great one on how college students learn.
Therese Huston

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a Dean of a school within a University, I am always on the lookout for well researched, practical and effective ways to educate our own faculty about student learning, especially for the various levels of university students (Bachelors, Masters, PhD). Any faculty member or university administrator seriously concerned with education desires to find a trustworthy and research-informed body of content, that has been carefully crafted to be usable and practical, that can serve as a tool or workbook for understanding student learning in ways that lead to clear suggestions for improving curriculum design and course delivery.

Yet, that search has been something like a quest for a holy-grail. Sure, everyone teaching at the university level wants to find this type of book. And we have all looked at numerous books on learning and teaching. But none of them were "just the thing."

Well, now "just the thing" is here. I have read this book cover to cover. It is exceptionally well done. In fact, I thought it was so well done that I called the publisher to order enough copies to give to EVERY ONE of our faculty and teaching support staff.

There is a reason why it has taken "the community" so long to finally create "just the right thing" in terms of a summary of student learning (university level) that is used as a basis for establishing principles for improving teaching.

* The work on cognitive science and its extension into the science of learning beyond the laboratory, into classroom and university settings, needed several decades to evolve and mature.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By David Kaufer on September 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is full of citations from the learning sciences, which may suggest a bias toward instruction in math and the sciences. Nothing could be further from the truth. As an English teacher, I found every chapter both reader-friendly and essential reading for teachers of the humanities. After reading each enjoyable chapter, I could form a mental checklist of what I was doing to support student learning in my classrooms and where I could improve. I have read many good academic books about teaching and learning and many good practical books. But I have not read a single book that mixes research and practical advice as well as this book.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Therese Huston on February 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
There are plenty of great books out there on how to teach a college class, and now there's a great one on how college students learn. "How Learning Works" tackles topics that most books on teaching ignore, such as how students' prior knowledge helps or hinders what they learn in your class. We've all had the experience of trying to remind students of material we know they've had before, only to be met with blank stares, or worse yet, comments that reveal a deeply flawed understanding. This book offers a better way. Don't be put off by the multiple authors - this book is written in a clear, single voice. It's smart, it's well-written, and even though the word "principles" is in the title, it's practical.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By lucky on July 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great book. easy to read review of relevant research to help teachers communicate lessons more effectively and get a better understanding of the learning process.

I really enjoyed reading How Learning Works. I thought the book was really great because it covered the essentials of the learning sciences behaviors using simple language and clear analogies. The book can help teachers increase student performance. Alternatively, the book can help students think about what a "good teacher" might do for them. For example, teachers can provide targeted feedback to help students find their way through tough concepts as GPS systems can help people find their ultimate destination.
This book is
-a good review for people in learning sciences, (lots of citations)
-an easy read for parents interested in how their student learns
-business managers interested in understanding about learning aspect of the education
-a great read for people who want an introduction to the learning sciences
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Kester on November 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm about to embark on a teaching tour at the Air Force Academy and this seems like an excellent resource. It does a good job of tying in research with application to provide a very readable and useful book. I cannot yet comment about how well it works in a teaching setting, but I feel more confident about my teaching after reading this and it helped me really think through a lot of different ways I can help my future students learn. One thing I particularly like is that it offers examples from a lot of different disciplines, from statistics to engineering to project management to English to theatre and art classes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frank L. Maker on November 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
this is a great book on effective teaching strategies for any faculty who does not have an education degree. i have read several books on teaching and assessment and this is by far the best. i really enjoyed the organization of the writing as the authors first describe evidence based research on a topic and then present pratical examples if how to implement different strategies. highly recommend it.
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