How can we help people learn, including students who are unprepared for learning - Kathleen F. Gabriel

A brief list quoted by Kathleen F. Gabriel highlights in the clearest way these fundamental principles of how to help learning, including with unprepared students:


  1. What and how much is learned in any situation depends heavily on prior knowledge and experience.
  2. Learning is generally enhanced when learners are required to take information that is presented in one format and “re-represent” it in an alternative format.
  3. Varying conditions under which learning takes place makes learning harder for learners but results in better learning.
  4. The single most important variable in promoting long-term retention and transfer is practice in retrieval.[bold added]
  5. Learning is influenced by both students’ and our own [the professors’] epistemologies[1]. (pp. 38-39)[2]




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DEFINE retrieval too and copy back

[1] Think of the word epistemologies is what the philosophy and study of knowing and knowledge.

[2] Kathleen F. Gabriel is the author of Teaching Unprepared Students: Strategies for Promoting Success and Retention in Higher Education. The quotation is on page 67.


She places this introduction just before the quotation:

“As a complement to the investigation of learning styles and learning approaches, it is also helpful to share with students some of the research findings on how people learn. In their article ‘Applying the Science of Learning,’ Halpern and Hakel (2003) discuss 10 ‘basic laboratory-tested principles drawn from what we know about human learning’ (p. 38). My favorite five to discuss with students are….”