Resources and References



Quiz. When it comes to evidence backing up the answers to the quiz questions, see the fantastic resource that John Dunlosky et al's pulled together guide on student strategies. Again, they show a lot of evidence for more active forms of learning like self-testing--and show the weak evidence for things like highlighters.

For my part, I've also written a lot over the years about the power of more active forms of learning. I wrote this Vox piece, for instance, that argues for more tests in school as a way to learn.

For more on the power of low-stakes quizzes, take a look at this piece that I wrote for Wired about Bennett Schwartz. Another wonderful resource is this interview with Bob Bjork, where he argues for the need to "generate" learning.


Retrieval is a great resource on active learning, with some fantastic videos on how to do more active forms of learning. The "Learning Scientists" also have some wonderful resources, including videos and infographics.

If you're looking for books, check out Brown, Peter C., Roediger III, Henry L., and Mark A. McDaniel. Make It Stick. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014.. They do a great job explaining active learning. Also see Carey, Benedict. How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens. New York: Random House, 2014. 


Scott Freeman et al, “Active Learning Increases Student Performance in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111, no. 23 (2014): 8410-8415.

John Dunlosky et al, “Improving Students’ Learning with Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions from Cognitive and Educational Psychology” Psychological Science in the Public Interest 14, no. 1 (2013): 4–58.

Richard E. Mayer and Fiorella, Logan. Learning as a Generative Activity: Eight Learning Strategies that Promote Understanding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Note that the generation effect is not all that different than the testing effect, which is explored most recently in Made to Stick and How We Learn. 

When it comes learning as doing and higher order thinking, see Jamie L. Jensen et al, "Teaching to the Test… or Testing to Teach: Exams requiring Higher Order Thinking Skills Encourage Greater Conceptual Understanding" Educational Psychology Review 26, no. 2 (2014): 307-329 and Luke G. Eglington and Sean H. K. Kang, “Retrieval Practice Benefits Deductive Inference” Educational Psychology Review, (2016): 1-14.

Michelene T. H. Chi, “Active-Constructive-Interactive: A Conceptual Framework for Differentiating Learning Activities.” Topics in Cognitive Science 1, no. 1 (January 2009): 73–105.

On handwriting, see M.D, Perri Klass. “Why Handwriting Is Still Essential in the Keyboard Age,” New York Times Also Konnikova, Maria. “What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades.”

The ideas that students need to be "thinking hard about knowledge" comes from Dylan William's introduction to Daisy Christodoulou, Seven Myths about Education, (London, U.K.: Taylor and Francis, 2013).

For more on the idea of memory as a series of roads, Jill Stamm and Paula Spencer, Bright from the Start: The Simple, Science-backed Way to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind, from Birth to Age 3 (New York: Penguin, 2007).

The quote about connections and language attrition is from Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow and Chris Ricketts, Language Attrition: Measuring How “Wobbly”1 People Become in their L1, (Baltmannsweiler: Schneider Verlag Hohengehren, 2010): 41-46. Also helpful was “Language Attrition.” Wikipedia,

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