Endlessly cramming and practicing a skill are just a few of the conventional learning techniques disproved in “Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.” Authors Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel combine almost 100 years of expertise in educational psychology and personal learning experience to put forward compelling insights into how the brain best absorbs and retains knowledge. The good news is that you do not need to be a genius to start improving your learning strategies. The authors assert that there is no limit to what you can learn if you approach new skills and information in the ways outlined in this book.
In fact, the way you think you learn best may not be the best way for you to learn. This book throws out any notions of there being different types of learners and provides clear guidelines for everyone. You can expect to gain valuable learning strategies with a focus on retrieval from memory and taking breaks to strengthen retention skills. While the authors insist that the actual task of learning should be challenging, they also stress the importance of taking the time to relax and even almost forget the material.
According to the book, even a tactic as ordinary as dividing your studies into distinct subjects can be a disservice to you. The research also shows that why you seek to learn something is as important as how you do it. If you learn a skill to impress others, explain the authors, your anxiety about your performance can override your memory. Instead, learning tends to stick better for those who want to master a skill for their satisfaction and not for others. If you pride yourself on being a workaholic, this book will change your perspective and possibly even your life. Meanwhile, anyone who teaches others can put these methods into practice to make a significant impact.