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Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 10.18.44 AMThe article “How People Learn” from The Week explores Carl Wieman’s ideas about how to improve learning. Wieman, a Nobel laureate in Physics and advocate for research based teaching practice, makes the case for a number of changes to enhance learning.

Reducing cognitive load.

Some ways to do so are obvious, such as slowing down. Others include having a clear, logical, explicit organization to the class (including making connections between different ideas presented and connections to things the students already know), using figures where appropriate rather than relying only on verbal descriptions and minimizing the use of technical jargon.

Addressing beliefs

The particular intervention we have tried addresses student beliefs by explicitly discussing, for each topic covered, why this topic is worth learning, how it operates in the real world, why it makes sense, and how it connects to things the student already knows.

Stimulating and guiding thinking

To do this effectively, teachers must first know where the students are starting from in their thinking, so they can build on that foundation. Then they must find activities that ensure that the students actively think about and process the important ideas of the discipline.

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