The ABCs of How We Learn

26 Scientifically Proven Approaches, How They Work, and When to Use Them

Daniel L. Schwartz (Author, Stanford University Graduate School of Education), Jessica M. Tsang (Author, Stanford University Graduate School of Education), Kristen P. Blair (Author, Stanford University Graduate School of Education)

Overview | Contents

Selected as one of NPR's Best Books of 2016, this book offers superior learning tools for teachers and students, from A to Z.

An explosive growth in research on how people learn has revealed many ways to improve teaching and catalyze learning at all ages. The purpose of this book is to present this new science of learning so that educators can creatively translate the science into exceptional practice. The book is highly appropriate for the preparation and professional development of teachers and college faculty, but also parents, trainers, instructional designers, psychology students, and simply curious folks interested in improving their own learning.

Based on a popular Stanford University course, The ABCs of How We Learn uses a novel format that is suitable as both a textbook and a popular read. With everyday language, engaging examples, a sense of humor, and solid evidence, it describes 26 unique ways that students learn.

Each chapter offers a concise and approachable breakdown of one way people learn, how it works, how we know it works, how and when to use it, and what mistakes to avoid. The book presents learning research in a way that educators can creatively translate into exceptional lessons and classroom practice.

The book covers field-defining learning theories ranging from behaviorism (R is for Reward) to cognitive psychology (S is for Self-Explanation) to social psychology (O is for Observation). The chapters also introduce lesser-known theories exceptionally relevant to practice, such as arousal theory (X is for eXcitement). Together the theories, evidence, and strategies from each chapter can be combined endlessly to create original and effective learning plans and the means to know if they succeed.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • July 2016
  • ISBN 978-0-393-70926-1
  • 6.2 × 9.2 in / 384 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“The book serves as a much-needed bridge between new revelations in the science of learning and everyday classroom practices. Each section is accessible, concise and well-stocked with primary references and resources.” — NPR Books, Best of 2016

“Daniel Schwartz and his co-authors have developed an easy-to-understand, easy-to-use synthesis of the learning literature without oversimplifying the complexity of the teaching and learning process. I am particularly impressed with the inclusion of multiple examples, potential risks, and possible misapplications, along with the acknowledgement that no one technique, by itself, will likely work in every situation. This book does a wonderful job introducing usable knowledge that can be flexibly applied by those seeking to encourage learning.” — David B. Daniel, PhD, Professor of Psychology, James Madison University

“Packed with tips, tools, and exercises for every type of learner and learning situation, The ABCs of How We Learn is a book whose utility goes far beyond the classroom, but into every area of life—from remembering your password to learning to play golf—and it should be required reading for us all.” — PsychCentral

“[A] teaching resource that is concise, is easy to navigate, and displays current and proven techniques. . . . The ABCs of How We Learn is a text that would be most appropriate for educators of all disciplines and at all levels, especially for primary and secondary school educators. . . . [O]ffers an easy-to-use reference for novice and expert teachers that will help them further develop their teaching skills. . . . [A]nyone interested in learning theories can appreciate the inclusion of various chapters related to educational psychology, specifically with regard to feedback, knowledge, norms, observation, and reward.” — PsycCRITIQUES

“A uniquely actionable new book of learning sciences principles that can improve teaching and learning…. [E]very teacher and student can benefit.” — Learning and the Brain

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