Make It Stick Book Summary, by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel

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1-Page Summary of Make It Stick

Overview

In the book, Make It Stick, the authors suggest that most people are not good at learning. They provide strategies for making it easier to learn by using cognitive science principles and examples. The brain is designed for neuroplasticity, which means that it can change over time with conscious effort on an individual’s part. The authors believe in adopting specific strategies to make the best use of this ability.

Many students and teachers believe that repetition and intense focus are essential components of any learning strategy. However, this is a false assumption because it yields results in the short term, giving both teachers and students the impression that information has been deeply absorbed. There’s no shortcut to deep learning; effective strategies for producing enduring results take time. Effort, patience, discipline are required to achieve long-term gains.

One of the most persistent myths is that learning involves mass practice. That means studying in large chunks, like cramming for a test. In fact, it’s better to space out your study time and take quizzes on what you’ve learned. It’s more effective to review information over time than to simply reread it and try to memorize it all at once. Focusing on recall leads to deeper understanding than when you just read something without trying to remember it later.

Another myth is the consistency of information. It’s better to shuffle things around by alternating and varying different types of related problems, rather than focusing on one set of problems before moving onto another.

When you review information that you learned in the past, it takes a lot of effort to remember. By reviewing material from time to time, your mind has to work harder than if you just reviewed it once. This helps solidify what you learned and makes connections between different pieces of information. When you rapidly expose yourself to new ideas, they become more meaningful because your mind is forced to make connections between them and other things that are related or different.

When we learn something new, it is stored as a short-term memory. The mind will then connect the knowledge to more recently acquired knowledge and recall it from memory. Mnemonic devices can help us access complex knowledge and make it easier to recall. If that knowledge is recalled frequently, embedded in our minds deeply, and becomes second nature for us, we’ll be able to use that information easily.

Learning takes time. You have to work at it and make mistakes along the way. For example, you can learn something by using flashcards or trying out different ways of doing something until you get it right. Also, sometimes people who are good at what they do can tell you if your performance is correct just like a mentor would in music class.

Learning is a process of trial and error, so failure is inevitable. However, if learners truly understand this concept, they can change their attitude towards learning.

If learners are willing to go through the hard work of learning and trust research over popular assumptions about learning, they will be on their way to mastering a subject.

Key Point 1: Conventional assumptions about learning are deeply flawed.

When you learn new things, your mind believes that it has learned more than it actually does. As a result, conventional learning strategies don’t lead to long-term retention of information. Many traditional learning strategies are not backed by rigorous research and instead rely on common wisdom. These strategies include reading something repeatedly until you get it and focusing on one subject at a time rather than trying to master several subjects simultaneously.

Make It Stick Book Summary, by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel

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