- Hardcover: 301 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (May 17, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0470484101
- ISBN-13: 978-0470484104
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 97 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching 1st Edition
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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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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.
* You needed a particular group of people who were professional teachers-- as well as professionals who focused on teaching teachers about teaching-- to stay together long enough to develop deep insight into the pratical issues associated with teaching university level teachers about teaching. In other words, the team not only had to master the body of content and pragmatics associated with student learning, they had to have deep experience with teaching other teaching professionals about both the body of content as well as the pragmatics.
* At the same time, this group of "teaching center professionals" had to be so familiar with the research related to the science of learning, as well as with a much broader range of research about learning effectiveness, that they could effectively select out what was important, and weave it into a comprehensive framework that made sense for teaching teachers about student learning and teaching.
* And last of all, this group had to have the passion as well as the opportunity to commit themselves over a very long period to the mission of creating such a book.
This team, principally from Carnege Mellons' Centre for Teaching Excellence, and also including people from the University of Pittsburgh, was able to pull all of this together. It must have been a herculean task over a very long period of time. But the result reflects the dedication, capability and effort of the team. No wonder this book appeared just now, and not five or ten years ago.
Each chapter is organized as follows:
- 2 brief case study stories that illustrate the them of the chapter
- A section that summarizes "What Is Going On In These Stories?", in a way that clearly highlights the challanges associated with the theme of that particular chapter.
- A section on "What Principle Of Learning Is At Work Here?"
- A section on "What does Research Tell Us About <The Theme Of The Chapter.>
- A section on "Implications Of This Research" for understanding student learning and teaching
- A section on "What Strategies Does the Research Suggest", for improving student learning and teaching
- A final "Summary" section
Because of this well conceived organization, the book is very easy to use. You can quickly go to any of the seven chapters, and zero in on the part you want to know about, or you are trying to recall and apply.
In short, this book is a major contribution to the entire community of people involved with tertiary level teaching. One might argue that every university faculty member should know what is in this book, no matter what their "split" is across research and teaching. Even faculty who are essentially supported full time on research funds, and who have a limited amount of formal classroom teaching, will benefit tremendously form this book. Since their interactions with Ph.D. students and and research staff are still essentially "teaching", an understanding of student learning will prove to help with the student supervisory process.
For university-level faculty from any type of institution who do classroom, studio and laboratory teaching- whether they are from a smaller scale liberal arts college, or from one of the strongest of the "R1" research universities - this book will prove invaluable. While it is really a book, and not a "workbook", I predict you will use it so often that you will consider it as well-used tool or workbook.
what else can I say? This is really good work. Get it. Use it. Connect better with student learning and students. Your students will appreciate it.
Dean, School of Information Systems, Singapore Management University
Professor of Information Systems (Practice)
This book pulls together the most important and most effective ones, presents them in one place, points to the research supporting their utility and provides solid actionable steps for implementing them. Ambrose and company practice what they preach in the way they construct their work.
In my view, this should be required as part of every new faculty seminar and re-read in a faculty reading group by every teaching faculty member every two to three years to reinforce good practices. It wouldn't hurt to design teaching portfolio reflection prompts and evaluation instruments around them around them either.
The kindle edition works well, though some of the charts and exhibits are a bit difficult to read - that's a known weakness of the medium. What I do like about the kindle version is the ability to highlight, annotate and share selections socially. These features create possibilities for creating and reinforcing a community of practice dedicated to research-based teaching excellence. I do wish our friends at Amazon would make it possible to highlight passages across page breaks so that they would show up on the kindle web page cohesively.
Reflecting back on my public education, I can easily see from third grade on, which teachers failed and why by using the common sense of an 8 year old. I did well because I "self taught" while the teacher was learning; I made my own inferences and cross connections despite pathetic math and physics teachers and one really bad ASL teacher.
The real target customers of this book should be experts since I suspect they're the ones with expert blindness causing students undue stress and emotional pain and blaming them for failing. All teachers may benefit from seeing the whole learning picture. Most teachers are just missing one or two techniques that would dramatically improve their effectiveness.
Why only 4 stars? I wanted more indepth examples, more intensity, more metaphors and progressive models.