To Grade or Not to Grade: Should Retrieval Practice Quizzes Be Scored? [Repost]

We’ve seen enough research on retrieval practice to know: it rocks. When students simply review material (review their notes; reread the chapter), that mental work doesn’t help them learn. However, when they try to remember (quiz themselves, use flashcards), this kind

Parachutes Don’t Help (Important Asterisk) [Repost]

A surprising research finding to start your week: parachutes don’t reduce injury or death. How do we know? Researchers asked participants to jump from planes (or helicopters), and then measured their injuries once they got to the ground. (To be

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

Learn Like a Pro: Science-Based Tools to Become Better at Anything by Barbara Oakley and Olav Schewe

With the school year starting in just a couple of weeks, Learn Like a Pro: Science-Based Tools to Become Better at Anything by Barbara Oakley and Olav Schewe is an excellent resource to help students start the school year with

“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

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

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

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:

Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycle of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind by Judson Brewer

Even before the increase in mental health challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we were living in an era of heightened anxiety. People experience feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease related to their futures or to life circumstances shrouded in

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,