A Concise Guide to Improving Student Learning: Six Evidence-Based Principles and How to Apply Them

A Concise Guide to Improving Student Learning: Six Evidence-Based Principles and How to Apply Them



This concise guidebook is intended for faculty who are interested in engaging their students and developing deep and lasting learning, but do not have the time to immerse themselves in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Acknowledging the growing body of peer-reviewed literature on practices that can dramatically impact teaching, this intentionally brief book:

* Summarizes recent research on six of the most compelling principles in learning and teaching
* Describes their application to the college classroom
* Presents teaching strategies that are based on pragmatic practices
* Provides annotated bibliographies and important citations for faculty who want to explore these topics further

This guidebook begins with an overview of how we learn, covering such topics such as the distinction between expert and novice learners, memory, prior learning, and metacognition. The body of the book is divided into three main sections each of which includes teaching principles, applications, and related strategies – most of which can be implemented without extensive preparation.

The applications sections present examples of practice across a diverse range of disciplines including the sciences, humanities, arts, and pre-professional programs.

This book provides a foundation for the reader explore these approaches and methods in his or her teaching.

Publication Date



Stylus Publishing




college teaching, handbooks, manuals, learning


Arts and Humanities | Music

Table of Contents

Introduction. Knowing about learning informs our teaching -- 1. Deeper learning and better retention. Principle 1 : Desirable difficulties increase long-term retention ; Workshop 1.1 : concept maps -- Principle 2 : Meaningful and spaced repetition increases retention -- Principle 3 : Emotion and relevance deepen learning ; Workshop 3.1 : community-based learning -- 2. Actively engaged learning. Principle 4 : Multisensory instruction deepens learning ; Workshop 4.1 : the flipped classroom -- Principle 5 : Small groups engage students ; Workshop 5.1 : problem-based learning ; Workshop 5.2 : process-oriented guided-inquiry learning -- 3. Assessment. Principle 6 : Formative assessment or low-stakes -- Evaluation strengthens retention ; Workshop 6.1 : grading, summative assessment, and high-stakes evaluation ; Workshop 6.1A : creating assessment tools ; Workshop 6.1B : constructing rubrics ; Workshop 6.1C : tips for grading papers and essay exams ; Workshop 6.2 : soliciting midsemester student feedback to improve a course -- Appendix A : Course design workshops. Workshop A.1 : the syllabus ; Workshop A.2 : strategies for the first and last days of class -- Appendix B : Workshop on lectures and mini-lectrures. Workshop B.1 : planning and delivery -- Appendix C : Workshop on classroom discussions. Workshop C.1 : classroom discussions.

Original Publication Information


A Concise Guide to Improving Student Learning: Six Evidence-Based Principles and How to Apply Them