Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

How People Learn


  • A Story from a Campus– A letter to students about learning styles
    – Richard Felder, Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering– North Carolina State University

  • 2000 PKAL Summer Institute Keynote Address:
    Using the principles of cognitive science and learning theories to enhance learning and teaching
    – Diane Halpern, Professor of Psychology & Director of the Berger Institute for Work, Family and Children– Claremont McKenna College
    ("We have powerful models of human learning that we can use as a guide for the redesign of higher education– and higher education needs to be redesigned because, like it or not, virtually every variable in the higher education equation is changing at a rapidly accelerating rate.")

  • PKAL F21 reports and perspectives:
    Addressing one American Psychological Association goal for student learning
    – Christine A. Marco, Assistant Professor of Pscyhology– Rhode Island College
    (A report of departmental efforts to implement a curriculum assessment strategy)

  • PKAL F21 reports and perspectives:
    Linking insights about how people learn to curricular reform
    – W. Bradley Kincaid, Professor of Biology and Chair, Department of Life Sciences- Mesa Community College

  • How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School
    Bransford, John et al. National Academy Press, Washington DC 1999
    (This seminal NRC report explores "how learning actually changes the physical structure of the brain, how existing knowledge affects what people notice and how they learn; ...and the relationship of classroom learning and everyday settings of community and workplace.")

  • A Report from a Campus– What undergraduate research can tell us about research on learning
    – David Lopatto, Professor of Psychology, Grinnell College
    (With support from NSF, and with the engagement of colleagues at the University of Colorado Boulder, David Lopatto documents the benefits of undergraduate research experiences on student learning, based on the experiences of four campuses (Grinnell College, Harvey Mudd College, Hope College, Wellesley College) that had received the NSF Award for Integration of Research and Education (AIRE). His survey instruments, approaches, and outcomes suggest how the undergraduate research experience can be integrated into efforts to strengthen learning of students in STEM fields.)

  • PKAL F21 reports and perspectives:
    Becoming learners in the assessment community
    – Maureen Scharberg, Associate Professor of Chemistry- San Jose State University
    This is the story of a faculty member that developed her own assessment materials while teaching an introductory chemistry course. She had the impression that students were learning something in her course, but she wanted to confirm her hunch with quantitative and qualitative data.

  • Applying the Science of Learning to University Teaching and Beyond
    – Diane F. Halpern, Professor of Psychology & Director, Berger Institute for Work, Family & Children- Claremont McKenna College
    – Milton D. Hakel, Scholar in Industrial and Organizational Psychology- Bowling Green State University
    The editors begin, "It is sadly true that most of the way we teach and learn is uninformed by laboratory findings in human cognition." This book addresses the need for faculty to reform pedagogy based on recent findings in how students learn effectively. As a whole, the scientific community needs to reform higher education to maintain validity with today's students. For faculty and administrators interested in long-lasting pedagogical reform this is a must-read.