Conventional teaching wisdom suggests that tests are a necessary evil without much benefit for learners, but in fact, low-stakes tests actually change and enhance memory. Many teachers still think that students should be taught according to their preferred learning styles—but there’s no evidence to support this. And while it may seem that helping students pick up material easily will make the learning stick, engaging them in productive struggle has proven much more effective.
For more information about these learning myths and what the science really says, read Jonathan G. Tullis’s article for Edutopia, “3 Common Myths About Learning—and What Teachers Can Do Instead.”
To learn more about the research cited in the video, check out the links below.
- Pooja K. Agarwal, Ludmila D. Nunes, and Janell R. Blunt’s systematic review of applied research around the benefits of retrieval practice in schools and classrooms (2021)
- Shana K. Carpenter, Steven C. Pan, and Andrew C. Butler’s review of the science of effective learning with spacing and retrieval practice (2022)
- Harold Pashler, Mark McDaniel, Doug Rohrer, and Robert Bjork’s article exploring whether there is evidence to support learning styles (2009)
- Francis J. Di Vesta and Stephen T. Peverly’s study on the effects of encoding variability and processing activity (1984)
- Dung C. Bui and Mark A. McDaniel’s study on enhancing learning during lecture note-taking using outlines and illustrative diagrams (2015)
- Christian Andrä, Brian Mathias, Anika Schwager, Manuela Macedonia, and Katharina von Kriegstein’s research on how learning foreign language vocabulary with gestures and pictures enhances vocabulary memory in school children (2020)
- Robert A. Bjork and Elizabeth Ligon Bjork’s article on desirable difficulties in theory and practice (2020)
- Manu Kapur and Katerine Bielaczyc’s research on designing for productive failure (2011)