Make It Stick Book Summary

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  • 9/16/2015 MakeitStick:Summary|BookReviews

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    BookReviews

    WhatIhavefoundinallthewonderfulbooksoutthereJune6,2014

    MakeitStick:Summary

    PostedbysafeisriskyunderBooks,Education,Ideas,Learning[5]Comments

    In todaysworld, parents are extremely observant about how their children are learning. Be itacademicsormusicorsportanyotherfieldthatthechildhasdevelopedasemblanceofliking,theparentgivesandseeksalltheguidanceavailabletomakehis/herkidslearningprocesseffective.Given thehyperconnected instant gratificationworld thatwe are all living it,Kids left to theirowndevices,becomejustthat,intheliteralsense.Theirlivesaresurroundedbyworldofdevices(cell phones, gaming consoles, ipod, ipad, etc.) and naturally they develop an affinity towards

    them.One doesnt need some academic research to infer that attention spans are going down

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    them.One doesnt need some academic research to infer that attention spans are going downacross all age groups,more so in children. In such an environment, canparents or teachers beconfident that the children develops thinking andmetathinking(thinking about how they arethinking)skillstobecomeeffectivelearners?.

    There is amad rush towards alternative education schools everywhere. Parents are under thenotion that schools that focus on standardized testing and standardized learningmight not beeffectivefortheirkidwhomtheythinkissomehowspecialfromeveryone.Inwhatsensetheyare special, only futurewould tell, but that doesnt stop them from thinking that educationmustbesomehowcustomizedtosuittheirkidslearningstyle.

    Inmyownfamily, Ihaveseenmycousinskidsbeingputthroughaschoolwheretherearenotestsatalluntil8thor9thgrade.TheschooladvertisestothegeneralpublicsayingthattheirUSPissmallclassroomsizesandNOTESTS.Theadmissionprocess in theschoolcreatesamassivefrenzyamongsteveryoneandevengetscitedinthelocalnewspapers.ParentsfeelthatthisNOTEST environmentwill unleash creativity amongst their kids and turn their little ones in to acreativegenius.Isitreallytruethatanenvironmentwithouttestsfostersgoodlearning?Whyisthereauniversalbacklashagainsttests?Whyiseveryonefixatedonlearningstyles?Whatiswrongwith the current educational system?Howdoesonebecomean effective learner?Theseandmanymorequestionsareansweredinthisbook.Hereisanattempttosummarizethebook.

    LearningIsMisunderstood

    Thischapter isapreludeto thebookandlistsdowntheclaimsthat theauthorsverifyvia fieldresearchinvariouschaptersofthebook.Whataretheclaimsmadeattheoutset?

    Learningisdeeperandmoredurablewhenitseffortful.Learningthatseasyislikewritinginsand,heretodayandgonetomorrow.We are poor judges ofwhenwe are learningwell andwhenwere not.When the going isharder and slower and it doesnt feel productive,we aredrawn to strategies that feelmorefruitful,unawarethatthegainsfromthesestrategiesareoftentemporary.Rereadingtextandmassedpracticeofaskillornewknowledgearebyfarthepreferredstudystrategies of learners of all stripes, but theyre also among the least productive. Bymassedpracticewemeanthesingleminded,rapidfirerepetitionofsomethingyouretryingtoburnintomemory,thepracticepracticepracticeofconventionalwisdom.Crammingforexamsisanexample.Rereadingandmassedpracticegiverisetofeelingsoffluencythataretakentobesignsofmastery,butfortruemasteryordurabilitythesestrategiesarelargelyawasteoftime.Retrieval practicerecalling facts or concepts or events frommemory is amore effectivelearning strategy than review by rereading. Periodic practice arrests forgetting, strengthensretrievalroutes,andisessentialforhangingontotheknowledgeyouwanttogain.Whenyouspaceoutpracticeatataskandgetalittlerustybetweensessions,oryouinterleavethepracticeoftwoormoresubjects,retrievalisharderandfeelslessproductive,buttheeffortproduceslongerlastinglearningandenablesmoreversatileapplicationofitinlatersettings.Tryingtosolveaproblembeforebeingtaughtthesolutionleadstobetterlearning,evenwhenerrorsaremadeintheattempt.Peopledohavemultipleformsofintelligencetobringtobearonlearning,andyoulearnbetter

    whenyougowide,drawingonallofyouraptitudesandresourcefulness, thanwhenyou

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    whenyougowide,drawingonallofyouraptitudesandresourcefulness, thanwhenyoulimitinstructionorexperiencetothestyleyoufindmostamenable.Whenyoureadeptatextractingtheunderlyingprinciplesorrulesthatdifferentiatetypesofproblems,youremoresuccessfulatpickingtherightsolutions inunfamiliarsituations.Thisskillisbetteracquiredthroughinterleavedandvariedpracticethanmassedpractice.Invirtuallyallareasof learning,youbuildbettermasterywhenyouuse testingasa tool toidentifyandbringupyourareasofweakness.Elaborationistheprocessofgivingnewmaterialmeaningbyexpressingitinyourownwordsandconnectingitwithwhatyoualreadyknow.Themoreyoucanexplainaboutthewayyournewlearningrelatestoyourpriorknowledge,thestrongeryourgraspofthenewlearningwillbe,andthemoreconnectionsyoucreatethatwillhelpyourememberitlater.Rereading has three strikes against it. It is time consuming. It doesnt result in durablememory.Anditofteninvolvesakindofunwittingselfdeception,asgrowingfamiliaritywiththetextcomestofeellikemasteryofthecontent.Itmakessensetorereadatextonce if theresbeenameaningful lapseof timesincethefirstreading,butdoingmultiple readings inclosesuccession isa timeconsumingstudystrategythatyieldsnegligiblebenefitsat theexpenseofmuchmoreeffectivestrategies that take lesstime.Yetsurveysofcollegestudentsconfirmwhatprofessorshavelongknown:highlighting,underlining,andsustainedporingovernotesandtextsarethemostusedstudystrategies,byfar.Risingfamiliaritywithatextandfluencyinreadingitcancreateanillusionofmastery.Asanyprofessorwillattest,studentsworkhardtocapturetheprecisewordingofphrasestheyhearinclasslectures,laboringunderthemisapprehensionthattheessenceofthesubjectliesinthesyntaxinwhichitsdescribed.Masteringthelectureorthetext isnotthesameasmasteringthe ideas behind them .However, repeated reading provides the illusion ofmastery of theunderlyingideas.Dontletyourselfbefooled.Thefactthatyoucanrepeatthephrasesinatextoryourlecturenotesisnoindicationthatyouunderstandthesignificanceofthepreceptstheydescribe,theirapplication,orhowtheyrelatetowhatyoualreadyknowaboutthesubject.

    Alltheaboveclaimsareverifiedbyexperimentscarriedoutinvariousschoolsettingsandotherunconventionalplaces.Theauthorsattheverybeginningmakeitclearthatthelearningtheoriesthathavebeenhandeddowntoushavebeenaresultoftheory,loreandintuition.Butoverthelastfortyyearsandmore,cognitivepsychologistshavebeenworkingtobuildabodyofevidencetoclarifywhatworksandtodiscoverthestrategiesthatgetresults.

    ToLearnRetrieve

    Weallforgetthings.Iftheyaretrivialstuff,theyreallydontmatter.Butiftheyarekeyprinciples,concepts,thenourlearningwillbestuntedanditbecomespainfullyobviousthatweneedtorereadtheforgottenstuff.Togiveaspecificexample,letssayIamlearningaboutJumpmodelingandthere isan introductorysectiononPoissonprocesses. In thepast IwouldhavespentsometimegoingoverPoissonprocessesandunderstandingthemathbehindit.Thekeytheoremsaresomewhereinmymemory.Notallareatmybeckandcall.So,wheneverIcomeacrossaconceptthat I have tough time recalling,my usual strategy is to reread the old section. Not an idealstrategy, says this chapter. I thinkmostofus follow theabovestrategywhere rereading is the

    gotochoicetomakethingsfresh.Thechapterfocusesononekeypointretrievalpractice.Thisis

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    gotochoicetomakethingsfresh.Thechapterfocusesononekeypointretrievalpractice.Thisisakindofpracticewhereyoumakeanefforttorecallthoseconceptsfromyourmemory,reflectonthoseconceptsfromtimetotime.Thisisnotthesameasrereadingthetext.

    Theauthorsmakeastrongcasefortestingasameansofretrievalpractice.Theretrievaleffectinthe cognitive psychology field is known as testing effect. Through the results of variousexperiments conducted, the authors suggest that testing immediately after a lecture, or testingyourselfatspacedintervalsisfarbetterthanrereadingatspacedintervals.Repeatedretrievaltiestheknotofmemory.Retrievalmustbespacedoutratherthanbecomingamindlessrepetition.Itshouldrequirecognitiveeffort.Theauthorsbackupthesesuggestionswithfieldexperimentsthatshow that frequent testing of students with delayed feedback gave better performance thanmerelyrereadingorrevisitingthematerialbeforemidtermandendterm.

    Foranadultlearner,howdoesthisapply?Iguessonemustselftest,eventhoughitispainful.Itisactuallybetterifitispainfulasitleadstogreatereffortatretrievalandhencebetterlearning.Howshould the tests be designed? For programming there are many suggestions out there. Forsomethinglikemath,Ithinkthebestwayistoreadatheoremandtrytogiveaproofinyourownwords trying to recall whatever you have learnt the previous time around. Merely readingthrough the proofs or conceptswill notmake the learning stick. This is called the generationeffect.Yougeneratetheprooffromsomeclues. Inthecaseofframeworksorsetof ideas,youcanprobablywriteanessayrecallingalltheaspectsofthetheorywithoutrereading.Itiseasytofallintothetrapof,OkIhaveforgotten,letmerereadthematerial.Insteadthischaptersaysthatonemustpause, takea self test, thenquizyourselfasyougoover thematerialagain,andthenreflectonwhatyouhaverelearnt.Thishasatermcalledelaborationintheliterature.Thismeansyouelaboratethelearningorpracticesessionsothatmemorypathsarestrengthened.Theother thingIhavestartedfollowingrecently is to takeasmall60pagebookletandkeepnotingdownwhateveryoufind interestingfor theday in the formofstatements,visualsor justaboutanythingthatcapturesthelearning.Obviouslyasyougoalongthese60pagediariesaccumulate.Once in a while you can pick a booklet and read the statements that you found interesting amonthago,6monthsago,ayearago.Thisisakindofretrievalpracticewhereyouaretryingtolearnbetterbytestingyourself.

    Mixuppractice

    Theauthorsintroduceatermcalledmasspracticewhereyoukeeppracticingoneaspectofskilldevelopmentuntilyouaregoodat itandthenmoveon.Thisisclearlyseenintextbookswhereeachchapterisfollowedbyasetofproblemsthatareonlyrelevanttothatchapterandthereaderisaskedtopracticetheexercisesandthenmoveontothenextchapter.This istheusualadvicepassedontousfrommanypeople.Practice,practiceuntil theskill isburnedintothememory.Faith in focused repetitive practice is everywhere and this iswhat the authorsmean by masspracticePracticethatisspacedout,interleavedwithotherlearning,andvariedproducesbettermastery,longerretentionandmoreversatility.Thereisonepricetopaythough.Fromthepartofthelearner,itrequiresmoreeffort.Therearenoquickpositiveaffirmationsthatcomewithmasspractice.LetssayyouhavebeenimmersedindoingBayesiananalysisforafewmonths,thenyoutakeabreakandgetbacktoit,therewillbeaninherentslownessatwhichyoucandigestthingsasthoseconceptsarelyingsomewhereinyourlongtermmemoryandinvokingthemtakeseffort.

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    takeabreakandgetbacktoit,therewillbeaninherentslownessatwhichyoucandigestthingsasthoseconceptsarelyingsomewhereinyourlongtermmemoryandinvokingthemtakeseffort.Buttheauthorssaythatthisisagoodthing.Eventhoughlearningfeelsslower,thisisthewaytogo.

    Thisphenomenonofmasspracticeiseverywhere.Summercamps,focusedworkshops,trainingseminars.Spacingoutyourpracticefeelslessproductivefortheveryreasonthatsomeforgettinghassetinandyouvegottoworkhardertorecallconcepts.Itdoesntfeellikeyoureontopofit.Whatyoudontsenseinthemomentisthattheaddedeffortismakingthelearningstronger.

    Whydoesspacedpracticework?Massedpracticeisgoodforshorttermmemory.Butthesadpartis that such a practice does not lead to durable learning. For something to get in to long termmemory,thereshouldbeconsolidationinwhichmemorytracesarestrengthened.Ifyoudonotactivatethesememorytraces,thenthepathswillbelost.Itislikelayinganewroadandusingitforaweekorso,andthenmovingon.Unlessyouuse theroadoften, thematerialnevergetsachancetobecomestrongandintheprocesslosesvitality.

    Practicealsohas to interleaved. Interleaving ispracticing twoormore subjectsor twodifferentaspectsofthesamesubject.Youcannotstudyoneaspectofsubjectcompletelyandmoveontoanother subject and so on. Linearity isnt good. Lets say you are learning some technique, forexampleEMalgorithm.Ifyousticktodataminingfield,youwillsee itsapplicationin letssaymixtureestimation.Howeverbyinterleavingyourpracticewithletssaystatespacemodels,yousee thatEMalgorithmbeingused toestimatehyperparametersofamodel.This interleavingofvarioustopicsgivesaricherunderstanding.Obviouslythereisapricetopay.Thelearnerisjustaboutlearningtounderstandsomething,whenheisaskedtomovetoanothertopic.So,thatsenseof feeling thathehasntgota fullgraspon the topic remains. It isagood thing tohavebutanunpleasantsituationthatalearnermusthandle.

    VariedpracticeLetssayyouareaquantandtryingtobuildfinancialmodels.Variedpracticeinyour case would be to build a classification model, a Bayesian inference model, a Brownianmotionbasedmodel, amoregenericLevyprocess basedmodel, a graphbasedmodel etc. Thepoint is that youdevelop a broader understanding of relationships betweenvarious aspects ofmodelbuilding.Ifyousticktoletssayfinancialtimeseriesforanyear,thenmoveontomachinelearningforanotheryear,itislikelythatyouaregoingtomissconnectionsbetweeneconometricmodelsandmachinelearningmodels.Havingsaidthat,itisnotapleasantfeelingtoincorporatevaried practice in ones schedule. Imagine you are just about understand the way to build aparticlefilter,atechniquetodoonlineestimationofstatevectorandyouhavealreadyspentquitean amount of timeon that subject. It is time tomove to another area, lets saybuilding a levyprocessbasedmodel.AssoonasyoustartdoingsomethingonLevyprocess,yousensethatyourknowledgePoisson+Renewalprocessesisveryrustyandthelearningisextremelyslow.Thisistheunpleasantpart.Buttheauthorshaveareassuringmessage.Whenthelearningappearsslowandeffortful,thatiswherereallearningistakingplace.

    Compared tomasspractice,a significantadvantageof interleavingpractice is that theyhelpuslearntoassesscontextanddiscriminatebetweenproblems,selectingandapplyingproblemsfromarangeofpossibilities.Theauthorsgiveanexampleoflearningpaintingstylestodrivehomethepointofinterleavedandvariedpractice.

    Practice likeyouplayandyouwillplay likeyoupractice.Theauthorsstress the importanceof

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    Practice likeyouplayandyouwillplay likeyoupractice.Theauthorsstress the importanceofsimulations for better practice. If you are in to trading strategy development, simulating timeseries and testing the strategy out of sample is fundamental for a better understanding of thestrategy. In fact,with the riseofMCMC, theveryprocessof estimation andmodel selection isdoneviasimulation.Theauthorsalsobringoutanexamplewheredailyreflectioncanbedoneasaformofretrievalpractice.

    I liked the last section of this chapterwhere the authors share the story ofGeorgia universityfootball coach who is following the principles of retrieval, spacing, interleaving, variation,reflectionandelaboration,inmakinghiscollegeteamabetterplayingteam.

    EmbraceDifficulties

    Short term impediments that make for stronger learning have come to be called desirabledifficulties,a termcoinedbyElizabethandRobertBjork.Thechapterstartswithanexampleofmilitaryschoolwherethetraineesarenotallowedtocarrynotebooksorwritestuff.Theyhavetolisten,watch,rehearseandexecute.Testingisapotentrealitycheckontheaccuracyofyourownjudgmentofwhatyouknowhowtodo.Theprocessofstrengtheningthe longtermmemory iscalledconsolidation.Consolidationandtransitionoflearningtolongtermstorageoccursoveraperiodoftime.Anaptanalogyforhowthebrainconsolidatesnewlearningistheexperienceofcomposinganessay.Lets sayyouare studyingpointprocesses, a classof stochasticprocesses.Firsttimearoundyoumightnotbeabletoappreciateallthesalientpointsofthetext.Youstartout feeling disorganized and the most important aspects are not salient. Consolidation andretrievalhelpssolidifytheselearnings.Ifyouarepracticingoverandoveragaininsomerapidfirefashion,youareleaningonshorttermmemoryandverylittlementaleffortisneeded.Thereisaninstantimprovement,buttheimprovementisnotrobustenoughtosustain.Butifyoupracticebyspacingand interleaving, the learning ismuchdeeperandyouwill retrieve fareasily in thefuture.

    Durable robust learning means we do two things First, as we recode and consolidate newmaterialfromshorttermmemoryintolongtermmemory,wemustanchortheresecurely.Second,wemustassociate itwithadiversesetofcues thatwillmakeusadeptat recalling themateriallater. Having effective retrieval clues is essential to learning and that is where tools likemindmapshelpalot.Thereasonwedontrememberstuffisthatwedontpracticeandapplyit.Ifyouareintobuildingsaymath/statmodels,itisessentialtoatleastsimulatesomedataset,buildatoymodelsothatpracticegetssomekindofanchorageforretrieval.Withoutthis,anyreadingof a model will stay in your working memory for some time and then vanish. Knowledge,learningandskillsthatarevivid,holdsignificance,andthosethatarepracticedperiodicallystaywithus.Ourretrievalcapacityislimitedandisdeterminedbythecontext,byrecentuse,andthenumberandvividnessofthecuesthatyouhavelinkedtotheknowledgeandcancallontohelpitbringitforth.

    Psychologists have uncovered a curious inverse relationship between ease of retrieval practiceand thepowerof thatpractice to entrench learning, the easierknowledgeor skill is foryou toretrieve,thelessyourretrievalpracticewillbenefityourretentionofit.Thereisanexcellentcasestudyofabaseballteamwheretheteamissplitintotwoandtheyare

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    Thereisanexcellentcasestudyofabaseballteamwheretheteamissplitintotwoandtheyaregivenvariedpracticeregimen.Firstgrouppractices45pitchesevenlydividedintosetsofthreewhereeachsethasaspecifictypeofpitchthrown.Thesecondgroupalsopractices45pitchesbutthis time, thepitcheswere randomly interspersed.After the training, the firstgroup feelsgoodabout their practice while the second group feels that they were not developing their skillsproperly.Howeverwhen itcameto the finalperformance test, thesecondgroupperformedfarbetterthanthefirstgroup.Thisstoryillustratestwopointsfirst,ourjudgmentsofwhatlearningstrategies work best for us are often mistaken, colored by illusions of mastery. Second, somedifficulties that requiremoreeffortandslowdownapparentgainswill feel lessproductivebutwillmore than compensate for that bymaking the learning stronger, precise anddurable. Themoreyouhaveforgottenatopic,themoreeffectiverelearningwillbeinshapingyourpermanentknowledge.Theauthorsalsomakeitapointtohighlightthatifyoustruggletosolveaproblembefore being shownhow to solve it, the subsequent lesson is better learned andmoredurablyremembered.

    Thischapterandthisbookisanamazingfountainheadofideasthatonecanuse.Noteverythingisnewbutthefactthatthereisanempiricalevidencetobackitupmeansthatyouknowthatitisnotfolklorewisdom.OnethingIlearntfromthebookwhichhasreinforcedmywayoflearningiswrite to learn.After readingabookor readingaconcept, I try towrite itdownso that I canrelate to things that Ihavealready learnt, relate toaspectsof the field that Iwant toeventuallyapplyetc.Thisobviouslytakesupalotoftime,butthelearningisfarmorerobust.Ithinkbooksummaries that Imanagetowrite isoneof thebestways toreflectonthemaincontentsof thebook. I tend towrite a pretty detailed summary of key ideas so that the summary serves as amaterialforretrievalpracticeatalaterpointintime.

    Theother idea this chapter talks about is about theneed to commit errors to solidify learning.CametoknowaboutFestivaloferrorsandFailconference.ThereisalsoastoryaboutBonnie,awriterandselftaughtornamentalgardener,whofollowsthephilosophy,leapbeforeyoulookbecause ifyoulook,youprobablywont likewhatyousee.HergardenwritingappearsunderthenameBlunderingGardener.Bonnieisasuccessfulwriterandherstorygoesontoshowthatstruggling with a problem makes for stronger learning and how a sustained commitment toadvancing in a particular field of endeavor by trialanderror leads to complex mastery andgreater knowledge of interrelationships of things. Bonnies story is pretty inspiring for anyonewhowishestotackleadifficultfield.Bygoingheadlongintothefieldandlearningfromthetrialanderrorprocess,andthenwritingabouttheentertainingsnafusandunexpectedinsights,sheisdoing two things. Firstly, she is retrieving the details and elaborating the details. Generativelearningmeans learner is generating the answer than recalling it. Basically itmeans learn viatrialanderror.

    Takeaways

    LearningisathreestepprocessInitialencoding,consolidationandretrievalAbility to recall what you already have depends on the repeated use of information andpowerfulretrievalcluesRetrievalpracticethatseasydoeslittletostrengthenlearning,themoredifficultthepractice,thegreaterthebenefit

    Retrieval needs to be spaced.When you recall something from your memory when it has

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    Retrieval needs to be spaced.When you recall something from your memory when it hasalreadybecome rusty, youneedmore effort and this effortful retrieval strengthensmemoryandmakeslearningpliablePracticeneedstobeinterleavedandvariedTryingtocomeupwithananswerratherthanpresentingittoyouleadstobetterlearningandretention

    AvoidIllusionsofknowing

    The chapter starts by describing twomodes of thinking System 1 and System 2, from DanielKahnemansbookandsaysthatwebaseouractionsbasedonSystem1moreoftenthanSystem2.Our inclination to finding narratives means that it has a significant say in our memorycapabilities.Therearelotofillusionsandmisjudgmentsthatwecarryalong.Onewaytoescapefrom them is to replace subjective experience as the basis for decisionswith a set of objectivegaugesoutsideourselves,sothatourjudgmentssquareswiththerealworldaroundus.Whenwehave reliable reference points, we can make good decisions about where to focus our efforts,recognizewherewevelostourbearings,andfindoutwayagain.Itisimportanttopayattentionto thecuesyouareusing to judgewhatyouhave learned.Whethersomething feels familiarorfluentisnotalwaysareliableindicatoroflearning.Neitherisyourlevelofeaseinretrievingafactorphraseonaquizshortlyafterthetext.Farbetteristocreateamentalmodelofthematerialthatintegratesvariousideasofthetext,connectstowhatyoualreadyknow,andenablesyoutodrawinferences. How ably you can explain the text is an excellent cue for judging comprehension,becauseyoumust recall thesalientpoints,put inyourownwordsandgive the logicofhowitconnectstoeverythingelse.

    Getbeyondyourlearningstyles

    Itisacommonstatementthatyoucomeacrossinthemedia,everykidisdifferent,thelearningstylehas tobespecificandcatering to thekids learningstyle.On the faceof it, thestatementlooksobvious.Empiricalevidencehoweverdoesnotsupportit.Theauthorsgivealaundrylistofall the learningstylesthathavebeenputforthandsaythat there isabsolutelynoevidencethatcateringtoindividuallearningstylemakesanydifference.Thesimplefactthatdifferenttheoriesembrace such wildly discrepant dimensions gives cause for concern about their scientificunderpinnings.While its true thatmostallofushaveadecidedpreference forhowwe like tolearnnewmaterial,thepremisebehindlearningstylesisthatwelearnbetterwhenthemodeofpresentationmatchestheparticularstyleinwhichanindividualisbestabletolearn.Thatisthecriticalclaim.

    Theauthorssaythat

    Moreover,theirreviewshowedthatitismoreimportantthatthemodeofinstructionmatchthenatureofthesubjectbeingtaught:visualinstructionforgeometryandgeography,verbalinstructionforpoetry,and so on. When instructional style matches the nature of the content, all learners learn better,regardlessoftheirdifferingpreferencesforhowthematerialistaught.

    So, if the learning styles dont matter, how should one go about ? The authors mention two

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    So, if the learning styles dont matter, how should one go about ? The authors mention twoaspectshere

    1. Structurebuilding:Theredoappeartobecognitivedifferencesinhowwelearn,thoughnotthe ones recommendedby advocates of learning styles.One of thesedifferences is the ideamentioned earlier that psychologists call structure building: the act, as we encounter newmaterial,ofextractingthesalientideasandconstructingacoherentmentalframeworkoutofthem.Theseframeworksaresometimescalledmentalmodelsormentalmaps.Highstructurebuilderslearnnewmaterialbetterthanlowstructurebuilders.

    2. Successfulintelligence:Gowide:dontroostinapigeonholeofyourpreferredlearningstylebut take command of your resources and tap all of your intelligences to master theknowledgeorskillyouwanttopossess.Describewhatyouwanttoknow,do,oraccomplish.Then list the competencies required, what you need to learn, and where you can find theknowledge or skill. Then go get it. Consider your expertise to be in a state of continuingdevelopment,practicedynamictestingasalearningstrategytodiscoveryourweaknesses,andfocusonimprovingyourselfinthoseareas.Itssmarttobuildonyourstrengths,butyouwillbecome ever more competent and versatile if you also use testing and trial and error tocontinuetoimproveintheareaswhereyourknowledgeorperformancearenotpullingtheirweight.

    Increaseyourabilities

    This chapter starts off by giving some famous examples like the popularMarshmallow study,Memoryathletestodrivehomethepointthatbrainiseverychanging.Thisobviouslymeansthatthe authors take the side of nurture in the nature vs. nurture debate. The brain is remarkablyplastic,tousethetermappliedinneuroscience,evenintooldageformostpeople.Thebrainisnota muscle, so strengthening one skill does not automatically strengthen others. Learning andmemorystrategiessuchasretrievalpracticeandthebuildingofmentalmodelsareeffectiveforenhancingintellectualabilitiesinthematerialorskillspracticed,butthebenefitsdontextendtomasteryofothermaterialorskills.Studiesofthebrainsofexpertsshowenhancedmyelinationoftheaxons related to theareaof expertisebutnot elsewhere in thebrain.Observedmyelinationchangesinpianovirtuososarespecifictopianovirtuosity.Buttheabilitytomakepracticeahabitisgeneralizable.Totheextentthatbraintrainingimprovesonesefficacyandselfconfidence,asthepurveyorsclaim,thebenefitsaremorelikelythefruitsofbetterhabits,suchaslearninghowtofocusattentionandpersistatpractice.

    After an elaborate discussion on IQ, the authors suggest three strategies to amp up theperformancelevels:

    1. Maintaining agrowthmindsetCarolDweckswork isused as the supporting argument.Dweckcametoseethatsomestudentsaimatperformancegoals,whileothersstrivetowardlearninggoals.Inthefirstcase,youreworkingtovalidateyourability.Inthesecond,youreworking to acquire new knowledge or skills. Peoplewith performance goals unconsciouslylimit their potential. If your focus is on validating or showing off your ability, you pickchallengesyouareconfidentyoucanmeet.Youwanttolooksmart,soyoudothesamestuntover and over again. But if your goal is to increase your ability, you pick everincreasing

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    over and over again. But if your goal is to increase your ability, you pick everincreasingchallenges ,andyouinterpretsetbacksasuseful informationthathelpsyoutosharpenyourfocus,getmorecreative,andworkharder.

    2. DeliberatePracticeWell, thishasbecomeacommontermaftermanyauthorshavewrittenjournalistic accounts of Anders Ericssons research. In essence it means that expertperformanceinmedicine,science,music,chess,orsportshasbeenshowntobetheproductnotjustof innategifts,ashadlongbeenthought,butofskills laiddownlayerbylayer,throughthousandsofhoursofdedicatedpractice.

    3. Memory cues Until a learner develops a deep learning of a subject, he/she can resort tomnemonicdevices.Consciousmnemonicdevicescanhelptoorganizeandcuethelearningforreadyretrievaluntilsustained,deliberatepracticeandrepeateduseformthedeeperencodingandsubconsciousmasterythatcharacterizesexpertperformance.

    It comes down to the simple but no less profound truth that effortful learning changes the brain,buildingnewconnectionsandcapability.Thissinglefactthatourintellectualabilitiesarenotfixedfrombirthbutare,toaconsiderabledegree,ourstoshapeisaresoundinganswertothenaggingvoicethattoooftenasksusWhybother?Wemaketheeffortbecausetheeffortitselfextendstheboundariesofourabilities.Whatwedoshapeswhowebecomeandwhatwerecapableofdoing.Themorewedo,themorewe can do. To embrace this principle and reap its benefits is to be sustained through life by agrowth mindset. And it comes down to the simple fact that the path to complex mastery or expertperformance does not necessarily start from exceptional genes, but it most certainly entails selfdiscipline, grit, and persistence ; with these qualities in healthymeasure, if you want to become anexpert,youprobablycan.Andwhateveryouarestrivingtomaster,whetheritsapoemyouwroteforafriends birthday, the concept of classical conditioning in psychology, or the second violin part inHaydensFifthSymphony,consciousmnemonicdevicescanhelptoorganizeandcuethe learningforready retrieval until sustained, deliberate practice and repeated use form the deeper encoding andsubconsciousmasterythatcharacterizeexpertperformance.

    MakeItStick

    The authors implement the lessons from the book within the confines of the book itself. Thischapterislikeaspacedrepetitionofalltheideasmentionedinthepreviouschapters.So,ifyoudontbotherabout theempiricalevidence,youcan just read thischapterand take themat facevalue,incorporatetheminyourscheduleandseeiftheymakesense.

    Takeaway

    ThisisbyfarbestbookIhavereadthattalksabouthowtogoaboutlearningsomething?.Therearegemsinthisbookthatanylearnercanincorporateinonesscheduleandseeadrasticchangeintheirlearningeffectiveness.Thebookisagoldmineforstudents,teachersandlifelonglearners.IwishthisbookwaspublishedwhenIwasastudent!.

  • 9/16/2015 MakeitStick:Summary|BookReviews

    https://rkbookreviews.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/makeitsticksummary/ 11/12

    5ResponsestoMakeitStick:Summary

    1. AnilTulsiramSays:

    September21,2014at8:17amHi

    Thanksforpostingsuchadetailedsummary.Ifullyagreewithyourpointson1)Makingmindmaps2)Writingtolearn.IambloggingforlasttwoyearsandrealizedthatIunderstandasubjectbetterafterIwriteapostonit.Iamabletocombinevariousthoughts..

    Request:keepingtrackofblogwillbecomeeasyifyoucanpostthelinkontwitterorgiveoptionofsubscribingbyemail.

    AnilTulsiram

    Reply1. safeisriskySays:

    September21,2014at1:26pmThanksAnilforyourcomment.Gladyoulikedthesummary.Ihavethoroughlyenjoyedreadingthisbookasmanyprinciplesmentionedinitarebackedbysolidresearchandthefindingsareunconventional.

    Iwillactivatethesubscribethroughemailoption.

    Happyreading.RK

    Reply

    2. renmeninyoluezberdengeer|BakentSays:

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  • 9/16/2015 MakeitStick:Summary|BookReviews

    https://rkbookreviews.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/makeitsticksummary/ 12/12

    2. renmeninyoluezberdengeer|BakentSays:

    October15,2014at4:03pm[]Kitabnayrntlzeti.[]

    Reply3. HowWeLearn:BookReview|BookReviewsSays:

    November23,2014at1:58pm[]accomplishments.Thisbookcollatesideasfromsomeoftherecentbooksonlearningsuchas,MakeitStick,AMindforNumbers,TheFiveElementsofEffectiveThinking,Mindset,etc.[]

    Reply4. sheilaSays:

    June30,2015at2:11pmIjustreadthebook&seriouslythebookisworthMORETHAN100timesthepriceIpaidforthebook.Itisawesome!

    Reply

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