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.
“If you want to read a lively and engaging book on the science of learning, this is a must…
Make It Stick benefits greatly from its use of stories about people who have achieved mastery of complex knowledge and skills. Over the course of the book, the authors weave together stories from an array of learners―surgeons, pilots, gardeners, and school and university students―to illustrate their arguments about how successful learning takes place… This is a rich and resonant book and a pleasurable read that will leave you pondering the processes through which you, and your students, acquire new knowledge and skills.”
Times Higher Education
“Many educators are interested in making use of recent findings about the human brain and how we learn… Make It Stick [is] the single best work I have encountered on the subject. Anyone with an interest in teaching or learning will benefit from reading this book, which not only presents thoroughly grounded research but does so in an eminently readable way that is accessible even to students.” ― James M. Lang , Chronicle of Higher Education
“Aimed primarily at students, parents, and teachers, Make It Stick also offers practical advice for learners of all ages, at all stages of life… With its credible challenge to conventional wisdom, Make It Stick does point the way forward, with a very real prospect of tangible and enduring benefits.” ― Glenn C. Altschuler , Psychology Today
“Presents a compelling case for why we are attracted to the wrong strategies for learning and teaching―and what we can do to remedy our approaches… In clear language, Make It Stick explains the science underlying how people learn. But the authors don’t simply recite the research; they show readers how it is applied in real-life learning scenarios, with engaging stories of real people in academic, professional, and sports environments… The learning strategies proposed in this book can be implemented immediately, at no cost, and to great effect… Make It Stick will help you become a much more productive learner.” ― Stephanie Castellano , TD Magazine
“If I could, I would assign all professors charged with teaching undergraduates one book: Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning… It lays out what we know about the science of learning in clear, accessible prose. Every educator―and parent, and student, and professional―ought to have it on their own personal syllabus.” ― Annie Murphy Paul , The Brilliant blog
“This is a quite remarkable book. It describes important research findings with startling implications for how we can improve our own learning, teaching, and coaching. Even more, it shows us how more positive attitudes toward our own abilities―and the willingness to tackle the hard stuff―enables us to achieve our goals. The compelling stories bring the ideas out of the lab and into the real world.” ― Robert Bjork, University of California, Los Angeles
“Learning is essential and life-long. Yet as these authors argue convincingly, people often use exactly the wrong strategies and don't appreciate the ones that work. We’ve learned a lot in the last decade about applying cognitive science to real-world learning, and this book combines everyday examples with clear explanations of the research. It’s easy to read―and should be easy to learn from, too!” ― Daniel L. Schacter, author of The Seven Sins of Memory
“For a deeper dig into the science of learning, make sure to pick up Make It Stick. It’s an illuminating read.” ― Drake Baer , Business Insider
About the Author
Peter C. Brown is a writer and former management consultant.
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.
The book is packed with Big Ideas.
“People generally are going about learning the wrong ways. Empirical research into how we learn and remember shows that much of what we take for gospel about how to learn turns out to...
There's How You Think You Learn, and There's How You Learn!
Okay, well maybe I am overstating that a little. But the main "thesis" of Peter Brown's book - aside from being a summary of what cognitive science data shows about how we learn - is basically that many of the things we often assume about learning are wrong. Here...
Finally a learning book based on science!
Summary of the key concepts in the book: Conventional Wisdom: Make learning easy Best practice: Design learning with desirable difficulties Discussion: “Learning is deeper and more durable when it is effortful.” “Difficulties that elicit more effort and...
Incorrect emphasis on effort as a way to increase learning
I'm a practitioner in human learning and memory. I understand the field -- uh, well, it's too vast to grasp more than a little. But I have conducted untold thousands of up-close observations on learners of all ages, and I've had the privilege of testing theories and...
Novel ideas that are good for the individual, but I think orthodoxy will inhibit their use broadly.
When I decided to continue my schooling, I wanted to make the best use of my time. Strange how it took me so long to wise up. In 'Make It Stick' the author (Brown) makes a persuasive argument for changing the way that we impart information to others in order to...
A must-read for college students and professors
Wife of M. Russell leaving this review. My Organic Chemistry professor suggested reading this book to the class last fall to improve study habits. I started the book but didn't finish it last fall, so I decided to finish it before I take OChem next week - an unexpected...
an important point of view
The extent to which a person is able to learn, how learning can be effectively pursued, and then later retain the skills and knowledge gained from the learning activities involve critical questions for all of us, not just for teachers, like myself. It is also important to...
Practical Information on How the Brain Learns
I coach teenage athletes. This book helped me figure out how to teach them techniques, pace clock skills, and so forth, in ways that they can retain what they've learned. Beyond that, the book was well written, easy to follow, and honestly researched (they weren't selling...