[Book review] Make it stick

1 minute read

This book is about successful learning. I found it online as a recommended learning for a MOOC course about learning. Authors of the book are cognitive scientists. The ideas in the book was similar to me before, but the book put all of them together in one place and highlight the most important of them.

Make it stick

Key idea: When your brain not hurts, you are not learning good enough. Or: “train like you fight, fight like you train.”

  • Use retrieval practice – try to recall what you read/learn from memory. They promote quizzing (also self-quizzing) as the very good technique for learning.
  • Elaboration - Write the idea in your words, draw models, explain it to somebody else.
  • Spacing – space out learning into longer period.
  • Interleaving – learn also related problems, areas. Connect new material to your existing knowledge. Variety of material, examples,
  • Generation – try to answer a question or solve a problem without looking for a solution. This technique might be very good applied in education, because something you solve yourselves you remember much better (simulation or real life situation is the best).
  • Reflection – Critical think about what you are learning. What are key ideas, examples? How it relates to what you already know? What was good in my learning, how can you improve?
  • Calibration – avoid illusion of knowing the material by quizzing.
  • Mnemonic devices

Other protips:

  • Eat and sleep well before exam. It is okay to study before exam, your short time memory is big thing.
  • Forget rereading and memorizing.
  • Master the ideas of the text, not text itself.

I am recommending this easy book to all of teachers and all of the lifelong learners.