“Understanding How We Learn – A Visual Guide” – Dr Yana Weinstein & Dr Megan Sumeracki

If you want a book to understand more about the science of learning, and how to use it for your pupils or yourself, then there is nothing better than “Understanding How We Learn – A Visual Guide” by Dr Yana Weinstein and Dr Megan Sumeracki.

They are two members of “The Learning Scientists”, cognitive psychological scientists interested in research on education. Their main research focus is the science of learning – hence their name. Their work aims to make scientific research on learning more accessible to students, teachers, parents and others – and this book does this brilliantly.

The book has a particular focus on taking the research evidence and turning it into effective classroom strategies for teaching and learning. The authors stress how important it is for us to move beyond anecdote and intuition in our planning and practice, as often these are less effective, or just plain unhelpful.

With fantastic explanatory illustrations by Oliver Caviglioli – themselves designed and deployed with cognitive science principles in mind – the book first examines the disconnect between science and education practice, the different types of evidence available to us, and the problems with intuition and prevailing misconceptions.

It then explores important concepts like perception and attention, before addressing the issue of memory and important strategies for getting things in and out of it. Later on it has tips for teachers and, importantly, tips for pupils and parents too.

It’s written by experts for non-experts – and succeeds in getting over ideas and practical examples that can make a real difference to teachers’ practice and students’ learning. If you’re after something to bring you up-to-speed on the science of learning in an engaging and accessible way, you won’t do better than this book.