How People Learn

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What Works Statements

What Works: Linking Insights About How People Learn into Curricular Reform

Reports

A perspective: Linking insights about how people learn to curricular reform
W. Bradley Kincaid
After participating in the PKAL 2003 Assembly, Linking Insights About How People Learn to Curricular Reform, I offer some characteristics of an institution (college or university) that is having demonstrable success in linking insights about how people learn into the work of curricular transformation.
Addressing one American Psychological Association goal for student learning
Christine Marco
A report of departmental efforts to implement a curriculum assessment strategy.
What undergraduate research can tell us about research on learning
David Lopatto
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.

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Applying the Science of Learning to University Teaching and Beyond
Diane F. Halpern, Milton D. Hakel
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.
How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School
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.

Essay

A letter to students about learning styles
Richard M. Felder
Read over the following descriptions and try to identify your learning style, and consider the suggestions of ways you can help yourself when mismatches occur, so that you can make the most of your educational experiences.
A Novel Strategy for Assessing the Effects of Curriculum Reform on Student Competence
Susan B. Millar, Paul H. Williams
Credible assessment is crucial to the success of any curricular reform efforts whose goals are to improve student learning and skill development. A new strategy designed to determine whether changes in student learning and skill development are measurable.
A Recent History of Curriculum and Assessment in Undergraduate Psychology Programs
Charles L. Brewer, Jane S. Halonen
This brief review documents how curricular and assessment issues have evolved over the last 20 years in undergraduate psychology
Academic Schizophrenia and STEM Leadership
Robert C. Hilborn
This essay by Robert C. Hilborn, Amanda and Lisa Cross Professor of Physics– Amherst College addresses the issue of why faculty do not become “scholars of teaching,” and use the same approaches to pursuing and renewing their teaching as they use in pursuing and renewing their research.
Assessment: The burden of a name
Bernard L. Madison
"Thrust onto the US higher education scene in the final two decades of the twentieth century, assessment continues to suffer mightily from misunderstanding, much of it because of the burden of its name. The other weighty contributor to this misunderstanding is assessment's cadre of early promoters – administrators, governing boards, accrediting agencies, and legislatures...So the lines were drawn and assessment has struggled against these misunderstandings to gain both respectability and usefulness in US higher education."
Experience in becoming learners in the assessment community
Maureen Scharberg
Although I have no formal education in assessment since my graduate degree is in chemistry, I just thought it was an important component as I began my career in chemical education. While teaching this course, I realized that the curriculum and pedagogy seemed to be working well.
Using the principles of cognitive science and learning theories to enhance learning and teaching
Diane F. Halpern
"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."

Other Resources

Informal Learning in an Emersive Educational Environment
Peter G. Kuttner
The learning environment must be seen as a product that needs to be developed. This development includes recognizing a need, understanding the need, proposing solutions to meet the need, introducing the product into service, and measuring the outcomes. Facility design must incorporate this product development and the MIT Learning Lab for Complex Systems provides an excellent example of this. In addition, the MIT Learning Lab boasts unique features such as specialty shop fabrication areas, integrated specialty spaces, and large-scale project areas.
Laboratories for 21st Century Students, Science & Technology
Richard M. Heinz
Laboratories for 21st Century Students, Science & Technology