One College - One Book: How Students Learn

Well, we are a month into the Fall semester, so hopefully things have begun to settle down for you. How time flies! But yes, it was a little more than four weeks ago that you received How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching by Ambrose, Bridges, Lovett, DiPietro, and Norman. I am sure that by now, the book is an old companion, with a worn, torn cover, and many dog-eared pages. My reaction to the book was a dual appreciation of its research base, combined with practical tips and information drawn from the authors’ experience.

The seven principles discussed in the book are:
The 7 principles are:

1. Students’ prior knowledge can help or hinder learning.
2. How students organize knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they know.
3. Students’ motivation determines, directs, and sustains what they do to learn.
4. To develop mastery, students must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply what they have learned.
5. Goal-directed practice coupled with targeted feedback enhances the quality of student’s learning.
6. Students’ current level of development interacts with the social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the course to impact learning.
7. To become self-directed learners, students must learn to monitor and adjust their approaches to learning. (Ambrose, et. al., 2010, p. 4-6)

The principles apply across all subject areas, educational levels, and pedagogical situations. The first section of the book explains the principles and their impact on teaching. The second section of the book discusses how the principles can be applied to teaching and includes a variety of teaching strategies and resources such as concept maps, rubrics, check-lists, assessments, and other learning activities.

So, tell us what you think about the book? What ideas were sparked? What gems did you glean from the chapters?

posted 9/19/2012 by Celeste Fenton, Ph.D. - Director CITT Faculty Professional Development

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