How much did I like what I read? 5/10

The book is not bad, but the actually useful content could hold in 2 or 3 pages.
Moreover, there's nothing new inside, so don't expect to learn anything if you're already familiar with these concepts:

Ch.3 - Is intuition the enemy of teaching and learning?

Results from these studies overwhelmingly show that reading the textbook twice in a row takes extra time, but does not improve long-term retention of the information

If we trust our intuitions and repeatedly read – as many college students seem to – we will spend time engaging in a learning strategy that simply does not work in most cases, and certainly does not improve learning in the long run.

Ch.4 - Pervasive misunderstandings about learning

The most important thing is to focus as much as possible on the correct information, rather than repeating the misconception over and over again.

Ch.5 - Perception

Sensation is the signals received by your organs through the five senses, whereas perception is the interpretation of those signals. Sensation is objective, whereas perception is subjective.

Bottom-up processing begins and ends with the stimulus.
you try to understand it without bringing your prior knowledge to bear on the situation.
Newborn babies engage mostly in bottom-up processing.

Top-down processing, on the other hand, involves bringing your prior knowledge to bear on your interpretation of the input you are receiving. In the case of the fire alarm above, an adult would bring their knowledge of the source of the noise (recognizing that it is an alarm)

humans use top-down processing much more than we might realize.

The curse of knowledge means that sometimes we as teachers can lack awareness of how students process information. Though we, of course, were also once students who did not know anything about the subject we are teaching, it is hard for us to “unlearn” the information and put ourselves in a student’s shoes to experience the novelty of learning about this concept.

Ch.7 - Memory

memory is reconstructive
This is a key concept in long-term memory: the idea that every time you retrieve a memory, you are actually changing it.
Every time you tell the same story, it comes out a little more polished, with a few embellishing details added, or a few boring ones removed. The memory itself – not just the story – is changing, so that the next time you retrieve the memory of that event, it will be more like the story you last told, rather than the way it really was. Memory is reconstructive in nature, and every time a memory is activated, it is altered.

However, a very important factor is whether information is encoded in a deep or meaningful way, so that connections can be made and understanding can be achieved.

Long-term memory is often talked about in terms of a four-stage model: encoding, consolidation, storage, and retrieval.
Just because a memory is encoded, however, does not mean that it will be recallable later; it needs to be consolidated. And, consolidation of a memory is not a one-off event.
When the memory is retrieved, it is reconstructed, reactivated, and re-consolidated.

Part 3 -Strategies for Effective Learning


Spacing involves distributing studying over time rather than cramming studying before an exam, which is the more common behavior among students

Retrieval practice involves bringing information to mind from memory, which is a technique that is much more effective at promoting long-term learning than the more common technique of re-reading class materials

Ch.8 - Planning learning

With any considerable number of repetitions a suitable distribution of them over a space of time is decidedly more advantageous than the massing of them at a single time.

Ch.9 - Development of understanding

For understanding to happen, new information needs to be connected to pre-existing knowledge.

Elaborative interrogation involves asking and answering “how” and “why” questions.

The main goal is to ask a number of questions that encourage you (or your students) to explain the main concepts. As you are elaborating, you are making connections between old and new knowledge, making the memories easier to retrieve later.

Self-explanation has most commonly been studied in math and physics, and involves students trying to explain the steps that they are taking out loud as they solve a problem.

Ch.10 - Reinforcement of learning

Retrieval practice involves reconstructing something you’ve learned in the past from memory, and thinking about it right now. In other words, a while after learning something by reading or hearing about it, if you bring the information to mind then you are practicing retrieval.

Retrieval practice gives students feedback on what they know and do not know, and gives teachers feedback too.

In other words, if students practice retrieval prior to looking over their course materials, they will learn more from looking over the course materials than they would have if they hadn’t practice retrieval beforehand


The key to optimizing a retrieval-based learning activity is to make sure that the students are being challenged to actually bring the information to mind from memory, but also that the students can be relatively successful at doing so.

Retrieval practice can feel difficult, but it’s important not to fall into the trap of feel-good learning.