Making “Learning Objectives” Explicit: A Skeptic Converted? [Reposted]

Teachers have long gotten guidance that we should make our learning objectives explicit to our students. The formula goes something like this: “By the end of the lesson, you will be able to [know and do these several things].” I’ve



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“Once Upon a Time”: Do Stories Help Learning?

When Daniel Willingham wrote Why Don’t Students Like School, he accomplished a mini-miracle: he made abstract psychology research… …easy to understand, and … obviously helpful to classroom teachers. Its invaluable pages include emphatically practical teaching advice: “memory is the residue of



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Conflicting Advice: What to Do When Cognitive Science Strategies Clash?

Teachers like research-informed guidance because it offers a measure of certainty. “Why do you run your classes that way?” “Because RESEARCH SAYS SO!” Alas, we occasionally find that research encourages AND DISCOURAGES the same strategy simultaneously. What to do when



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Does Online Learning Work? Framing the Debate to Come…

I first published this blog post back in January. I’ve been seeing more and more discussion of this question on social media, so I thought it might be helpful to offer this perspective once again. With news that several very



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Putting It All Together: “4C/ID”

We’ve got good news and bad news. Good news: we’ve got SO MUCH research about learning that can guide and inform our teaching! Bad news: we’ve got SO MUCH research about learning that…well, it can honestly overwhelm us. I mean:



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How to Capture Students’ Attention for Online Readings (tl;dr)

When do students focus while reading online? When do they lose focus and let their minds wander? Does the length of the passage being read influence the answer to these questions? Several researchers, including Dr. Noah Forrin, have been exploring this topic,



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When Do We Trust the Experts? When They Don’t Trust Themselves!

Back in 2010, three scholars published a widely-discussed paper on “Power Poses.” The headlines: when people adopt a strong stance (say, fists on hips, like Superman), they… …take more risks in gambling tasks, …change various hormone levels, and …answer questions



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Beyond Slogans and Posters: The Science of Student Motivation

In many cases, cognitive science offers clear teaching advice. You’re curious about working memory? We’ve got LOTS of strategies. Wondering about the limits of attention? Good news! Alas, in other cases, research doesn’t give us such clarity. If, for instance,



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Does Chewing Gum Improve Memory and Learning?

I recently read a striking Twitter claim from a well-known teacher: chewing gum helps memory and concentration. In fact, according to the teacher, research supports this claim: the tweet cites this study as one of many to make this gum-chewing



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Let’s Talk! How Teachers & Researchers Can Think and Work Together

Once you say it out loud, it’s so obvious: Teachers benefit from learning about psychology and neuroscience. AND, psychologists and neuroscientists (in certain fields) benefit from learning more about classroom teaching. These beliefs inspire our conferences and seminars and summer



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