How We Learn

howWeLearnHow we learn by Benedict Carey (2014) deals with how memory works and the various factors which impact on thinking and how we learn.   As a book it is reasonably accessible to read and contains a number of points which I found to be interesting in terms of the processes commonly used in education.   A large number of different studies into memory and learning are included throughout the book to illustrate the points under discussion with these studies being shared out across the 4 chapters focusing on basic theory, retention, problem solving and the subconscious.

I found the discussion of how memory access tends to make stories out of what is being remembered rather than just presenting a picture like record quite interesting.   As was the exploration of how the environment in which learning takes place and then the often different environment in which testing of this learning occurs.    Both these points have clear implications for teaching and learning and how we might aid students learning through greater consideration of the learning environment and also the context within which learning exists in relation to the overall subject being studied.

The inclusion of an appendix of common questions and answers also makes the book very useful as a reference resource.    You can easily look up this section in the book to get short answers to questions such as “how does sleep affect learning” which are explored more fully in the main body of the book.

Overall I found this to be a very useful and interesting book to read.    I would definitely recommend it.