Making it Stick: How to apply “The Science of Successful Learning” to the workplace!

Posted on Posted in Change Management, Learning Strategies, Science of Learning, Skills Gap, Trends

“People generally are going about learning in the wrong ways.” State Peter C Brown, Henry L. Roediger III and Mark A. McDaniel, authors of Make It Stick“But there’s a catch: the most effective learning strategies are not intuitive.”

After Roediger and McDanirl, along with a team of 9 others, won an award for “Applying Cognitive Psychology to Enhance Educational Practice”, they realized the need for the successful transfer of knowledge within the education industry. Through their research, they found countless opportunities and methods that help “teachers” to unlock the power of the “learner’s” brain, therefore increasing information retention, more complex learning, and long-term recall.

The book’s an interesting read, so we firmly suggest that you take a long-weekend or cottage trip and curl up with the novel. The insights and stories are innovative applications of their research and can be applied not only to the education sector but also to many businesses and management styles. We have personally found that the book and the research conducted by these cognitive researchers have validated our process and methodology.

Don’t have time?

We don’t blame you. In fact, studies show that not only is our attention span shorter than that of a goldfish, but on average, we only have 1% of the work-week available for learning and development; I can’t even imagine how much time we have “available” for reading. On top of this, how can you be confident that you will find this book useful? I mean, let’s be honest, this isn’t the first “self-help” book that has promised to skyrocket your learning ROI, and you don’t want to waste your time with another book collecting dust on the shelf behind your desk.

To save you time and effort, we’ve found an article by Online Learning Insights article, Make Teaching Stick, which nicely summarizes the book, providing the reader with a detailed list of takeaways that would be useful within the education and corporate training industry.

For the company leader:

There are many neat and inspiring concepts within the book, but to save you time, we have decided to focus on the following key insights. If you find these interesting, we firmly suggest that you read the book for yourself!

  1. Spaced Reflection (Testing): You should never ignore self- and guided reflection when you’re looking for results. In fact, one of the best methods for long-term retention and information recall is to test dynamically (see below) and to alternate on multiple subjects. The idea is to make the brain work at recalling the information. Tip: take 5-10 breaths and reflect before Googling something that you learned before. (pg 28 + pg 48)
  2. The Illusion of Knowing: Understand that (1) you don’t know everything, and (2) whoever you’re talking to isn’t an expert will be your biggest key to success. By approaching each situation with a clean slate, you can ensure that you’re getting the most information out of the opportunity. Take it one step further. If you’re meeting is scheduled, ask the person to answer a few questions before the meeting, that way you know what page you’re on and what goals they want to achieve. (pg. 126)
  3. Dynamic testing (and retesting): Interestingly, this is the method that we use when learning to walk, speak, tie our shoes (etc.), but it seems to be forgotten once we hit the schoolyard. The first step is to test your knowledge, one you know your areas for improvement, you learn and research, then re-test. When used correctly, in a positive environment, dynamic testing is one of the fastest and most efficient methods for you and your employees to learn in a positive and constructive way. (pg. 153)

Read the book? Reading it now? Tell us what you think!