09 February 2011


Medium Review: Book

How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching, by Susan A. Ambrose, Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha C. Lovett, and Marie K. Norman. Jossey-Bass, 2010.

How Learning Works takes results collected from the educational research community and puts them into terms that an educational practitioner can understand and use. The seven principles—students' prior knowledge can help or hinder learning; how students organize knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they know; students' motivation determines, directs, and sustains what they do to learn; to develop mastery, students must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply what they have learned; goal-directed practice coupled with targeted feedback enhances the quality of students' learning; students' current level of development interacts with the social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the course to impact learning; and to become self-directed learners, students must learn to monitor and adjust their approaches to learning—seem common sense at first glance, but the details behind each and how to use those in students' educational experiences are valuable and applicable anywhere from K-12 to higher education. It's the how to apply these principles part that's most valuable. A good read for anyone in the educational world.

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