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Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

by Belinda Breeze

This wonderful book has been on the shelves for several years, but it’s still as relevant as ever, particularly for those of us who believe that learning something ‘the hard way’ implies wasted time and effort.

Good teaching, this erudite book believes, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. Make It Stick turns many fashionable ideas on their head and, drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, the authors offer concrete techniques for becoming more productive learners.

Memory is critical to our ability to do complex cognitive tasks such as adapting information to new challenges and drawing inferences from previously known facts. New discoveries about how memory is encoded, consolidated, and later retrieved have improved our understanding of how we learn. Dealing with the barriers that make learning difficult leads to more complicated mastering as well as improved recall of what was learned.

Many common study habits and practice routines have been shown to be ineffective. Underlining and highlighting, rereading, cramming, and obsessive practice of new abilities all provide a sense of expertise, but the benefits disappear fast. Self-testing, introducing specific challenges in practice, waiting to re-study new material when a little forgetfulness has set in, and interleaving the practice of one skill or topic with another result in more complicated and enduring learning. Make It Stick will appeal to all people interested in the challenge of lifelong learning and self-improvement, particularly teachers and trainers.

Daniel L. Schacter, the author of The Seven Sins of Memory, commented: “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!”

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning can be purchased on Amazon for AED129.00