Educational practice does not, for the most part, rely on research findings. Instead, there’s a preference for relying on our intuitions about what’s best for learning. But relying on intuition may be a bad idea for teachers and learners alike.
This accessible guide helps teachers to integrate effective, research-backed strategies for learning into their classroom practice. The book explores exactly what constitutes good evidence for effective learning and teaching strategies, how to make evidence-based judgments instead of relying on intuition, and how to apply findings from cognitive psychology directly to the classroom.
Including real-life examples and case studies, FAQs, and a wealth of engaging illustrations to explain complex concepts and emphasize key points, the book is divided into four parts:
- Evidence-based education and the science of learning
- Basics of human cognitive processes
- Strategies for effective learning
- Tips for students, teachers, and parents.
Written by "The Learning Scientists" and fully illustrated by Oliver Caviglioli, Understanding How We Learn is a rejuvenating and fresh examination of cognitive psychology's application to education. This is an essential read for all teachers and educational practitioners, designed to convey the concepts of research to the reality of a teacher's classroom.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Evidence-Based Education and the Science of Learning
Chapter 1: Communication Breakdown Between Science and Practice in Education
Chapter 2: Different Types of Evidence in Education
Chapter 3: Is Intuition the Enemy of Teaching and Learning?
Chapter 4: Pervasive Misunderstandings About Learning: How They Arise, and What We Can Do
Part 2 Basics of Human Cognitive Processes
Chapter 5: Perception
Chapter 6: Attention
Chapter 7: Memory
Part 3 Strategies for Effective Learning
Chapter 8: Planning Learning: Spaced Practice and Interleaving
Chapter 9: Development of Understanding
Chapter 10: Reinforcement of Learning: Retrieval Practice
Part 4 Tips for Teachers, Students, and Parents
Chapter 11: Tips for Teachers
Chapter 12: Tips for Students
Chapter 13: Tips for Parents
Yana Weinstein is Assistant Professor of Psychology at University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA. Yana is co-founder of The Learning Scientists, http://www.learningscientists.org/, a project whose goal is to make scientific research on learning more accessible to students, teachers, and other educators. Yana tweets as @doctorwhy.
Megan Sumeracki (formerly Smith) is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Rhode Island College, USA. Megan is co-founder of The Learning Scientists, where she aims to increase the use of effective study and teaching strategies that are backed by research. Megan tweets as @DrSumeracki.
Oliver Caviglioli was a principal of a special school for a decade, before co-creating the HOW2s– visual guides to evidence-based teaching techniques. More recently, Oliver has used a variety of visual formats in different contexts: hand-drawn sketchnotes, digital diagrams, infographics, live hand-drawn conference notes and posters. Oliver is busy on Twitter as @olicav.
"This book is incredibly useful for students, parents, and teachers alike. As a high school teacher, the information provided will only serve to better my classroom and my student’s understanding of learning. The content, both word and illustrations, creates an easily accessible text packed with material. I highly recommend Understanding How We Learn. I may order two copies because I’m sure I’ll be using and sharing the book often with my fellow teachers." - Blake Harvard, James Clemens High School, USA
"Many educators are today advocating for evidence-based education. This book is an excellent source for the current evidence on ways to improve learning, as well as practical tips on how to use the strategies. The authors write for teachers, students, and parents. I highly recommend this book for all three groups." - Henry L. Roediger III, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Psychology, Washington University, USA
"In Understanding How We Learn Sumeracki and Weinstein urge educators, students and parents to pay less attention to intuition and pay more attention to research. The book then enables them to do that. As a result, they synthesise a huge wealth of research literature on cognitive science into a readable, practical guide that serves as a tool to transform teaching, and hence learning. Laced with anecdotes and examples that make this an essential read, the wealth of academic references mean that this book will be invaluable in transforming your institution, and the educators and students within it, to be more effective. An absolute must-read for all educators, teachers, and students." - Stuart Lock, Executive Principal of Bedford Free School and Director at Northampton Primary Academy Trust, UK
"An accessible, fascinating journey through research methods, findings and application. If every teacher across our multi-academy trust could apply these findings (and there’s nothing so complicated here that this couldn’t be done), the benefits to student learning could be enormous." — Linda Ferris, Schools Week
"Understanding how we learn: a visual guide should be recommended to every student, and for that matter their teachers. It draws on scientific research in psychology to explain what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to learning and recall."— Terry Freedman, ICT & Computing in Education