Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

Category: Social Sciences
Author: Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger, Mark A. McDaniel
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by mikece   2020-07-18
It's a truth that teaching is the best way to learn; even if you never "teach" the course you're learning it's useful write down key points as questions (along with their answers in your notes) and compose an exam from the material you just learned as though you're going to use it to test someone else's knowledge. Then take the exam you created, first right after you're done with your learning session and then again the next day before you start with your next session. The act of recalling from memory what you've learned is key to locking in information for long-term retrieval. (And your collection of practice exams make for a great way to cumulatively test that you're recalling everything you've learned.)

This and many more tricks were learned by reading "Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning" --

by MarkMc   2018-12-22
> Should I be re-reading/re-listening to certain chapters? Keep notes and refer back to them often?

No - simply re-reading your notes or the original text is not optimal and can give you a false sense of progress.

It's important that your repetition involves active recall - that is, you must close the textbook/notebook and try to recall the key definitions and ideas. Only then should you open your notebook and compare your current knowledge with the original information. If there are large gaps in your knowledge, schedule the next review soon otherwise leave it longer.

I've found it's quite painful to sit and force my mind to grasp onto ideas which are just out of reach, especially when the information is just a click away, but it leads to much better retention of important knowledge.

A great book on this subject is Making It Stick:

by FreeYourselfNow   2018-11-10

If you're asking about the bar, then think about July as the month where it is all going to come together. If we were trying to pass the Bar on July 1, we would have started studying a month earlier. Also read Make it Stick if you feel like you're just treading water, and then hit practice questions and essays like nothing else matters.

by Epicurus05   2018-11-10

An interesting post. A couple of thoughts.

  1. Transfer: while transfer is famously hard, my understanding of recent educational research suggests that transfer is difficult but possible with the right kind of training and reinforcement. The evidence on this is admittedly sketchy, but I'd recommend this Tim Van Gelder post for a start on whether we can acquire general reasoning abilities.
  2. Critical thinking: Willingham's claim about the domain-specificity of critical thinking is controversial. A fair number of educational researchers and cognitive psychologists disagree that critical thinking skills are entirely domain specific. Part of this depends on what we mean by "critical thinking," which is a notoriously vague concept. This is in some way a verbal dispute: everyone thinks that some aspects of critical thinking are more general than others. The question is just: how general?

I've been impressed by two avenues of research on these topics.

First, there's the IARPA funded trials that suggest debiasing is possible with the right kind of interventions--in this case, computer games. But something more general holds: with rapid feedback and sustained practice, it looks like debiasing might work for at least certain kinds of biases.

Second, I'm also intrigued by the research on high-intensity argument mapping classes. These course seem to substantially boost performance on tests of reasoning, like the California Critical Thinking Skills Test, the Halpern Assessment, and logical reasoning portion of the LSAT. We don't know if these gains fade out quickly or not, or whether they are ultimately hollow. But my guess is that they're sustainable--with practice--and measure something real. For all of this, much more research is necessary.

I'm curious to hear what you think!

by jbarciauskas   2018-02-09
This article is untethered from the mammoth amounts of research that's been done specifically on how people learn. The answer to this question doesn't lie in anecdotes about various professors' "philosophy", in fact that kind of approach is a huge barrier to actually improving the learning that occurs on college campuses. This is an opinion article, so I understand it's not thorough reporting, but the author should familiarize herself with the literature.

A book like is accessible and provides a good survey of what we know about how the brain learns and remembers things, and how it relates to existing practices.

by hugja   2017-11-09
Any books or other resources you recommend to learn these things? On learning to learn I have enjoyed A Mind for Numbers[1] by Barbra Oakley with Coursera course[2], Make it Stick[3] by Peter C. Brown, and How We Learn[4] by Benedict Carey.




by bootload   2017-10-23
The science underpinning the idea of learning, memory, recall and is based/described in neuroscience at at cellular level. So you can read papers. The coursework is really at a more abstracted level describing the processes as a model based on cited research. This is a high level course to improve learning, not STEM as such. Still very useful.

Chunking is described in more detail at Week2 and books:

by MarkMc   2017-08-19
There's a great book called 'Making It Stick' which details effective, proven methods to improve memorisation and learning. Spaced repition (or more generally active recall) is one of those major methods.


by dmacjam   2017-08-19
If somebody prefer a book instead, one of the recommended books for this course is book [1] Make it stick: The science of successful learning. The book is written by several cognitive scientist and it contains many useful tricks about learning. Here you can find a short summary containing main ideas of the book [2].