I recently read the book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. I found the book impressive, and it joins the short list of those I’ll too-enthusiastically recommend to anyone who will listen–especially those who are “learners” or “teachers”, groups which should encompass most people.
Make It Stick is a well-woven collection of stories and hard data on what the science actually says about how best to learn.This includes a number of things that run against our intuition, or even standard study advice. A few examples:
- Always retiring to the same quiet place to study may actually hurt learning.
- Learning something “easily” probably means you’re going to lose it soon.
- Repeatedly re-reading a text (or presumably, re-listening to a lecture) is terrible in terms of learning power.
- Tests are good–at least, if approached in the right way.
- One of my favorites: spaced repetition is really powerful.
- Reflection–digesting, re-stating, connecting, and applying “learning” is fairly powerful in facilitating actual learning.
And so…I plan to take the book’s advice to heart and “reflect” in writing on its contents. The benefit is primarily my own: if you wish, you can buy the book, or search for its title and find any number of summaries. I’d encourage doing both. In writing about these ideas, I hope to “learn” them, making them part of my own mental toolkit. If someone else benefits as well, I’m even happier!
For a longer preview of the ideas presented in the book, see this article. And then–start thinking about how to apply the ideas presented, and join me in the conversation!
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