Friday, October 31, 2014

Make It Stick

How I wish I had access to the contents of this book earlier in my life. It would have saved me countless hours during formal education. In Make It Stick, Peter Brown shares the scientifically asserted techniques to help you learn faster and more effectively.

Learners everywhere do a lot of reading and highlighting. They read a passage over and over until it is so familiar that they believe they know it. Unfortunately, a lot of that reading was wasted effort, and a lot of what was learned was stored in only short-term memory, and therefore soon to be long forgotten.

The techniques Brown shares increase your learning efficiency. And it is not a zero sum game: just because you learn something new does not mean you forget something old. What you learn keeps growing, according to Brown. And you can remember it for longer if you can associate the new learnings with analogies and/or other models you already know.

The interesting thing is that a lot of the learning methods Brown proposes are counter-intuitive. You actually feel like you're learning less, which encourages you to revert to the old method of learning by re-reading, where the familiarity you experience by reading things you've already read makes you feel like you're learning more. But controlled experiments show that while Brown's methods feel less efficient, they are far more so.

I recommend Make It Stick to anyone who wants to learn more and retain more of what they have learned. (That's you!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great review. Sounds pretty interesting and certainly off my radar of normal reading.