Pooja k. Agarwal

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8 Kappan December January What We’ve learned about learning
Photo: iStock
(pooja@poojaagarwal.com) is an assistant professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and founder of RetrievalPractice.org, a hub of resources for teachers based on the science of learning. Her upcoming book, coauthored with a veteran K teacher, is
Powerful Teaching, Unleash the Science of Learning
(Jossey-Bass, Spring 2019).
(roediger@wustl.edu) is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. His most recent book, coauthored with Peter Brown and Mark McDaniel, is
Make it Stick The Science of Successful Learning
(Harvard University Press, Because learning is an incredibly complex behavior, the science of learning includes many topics how we learn and remember information in school, how we learn from the environment around us, how our actions influence what we remember, and soon. With this in mind, it’s useful to think of learning science as an umbrella term that spans many research fields including psychology, computer science, and neuroscience. Our own research sits in the field of cognitive science or, more specifically, cognitive psychology. The word

comes from the Latin word for to know and cognition refers to behind the scenes behaviors like perceiving, attending, remembering, thinking, and decision making. In cognitive psychology, we typically examine mental operations, or behaviors occurring inside our heads.

Cognitive psychology examines processes we engage in everyday without stopping to reflect on the complex series of behaviors that determine our successor failure. For example, have you ever talked on a cellphone while driving a car Many complex cognitive operations are involved in both of these activities (and there’s plenty of research demonstrating it’s dangerous to attempt both at once. Another example You meet someone at a party and later you remember details about your new friend — where they live, where they work, and soon but you struggle to remember their name.

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