Introduction: Bridging Learning Research and Teaching Practice
Learning results from what the student does and thinks and only from what the student does and thinks. The teacher can advance learning only by influencing what the student does to learn.
HERBERT A. SIMON,1 one of the founders of the field of Cognitive Science, Nobel Laureate, and University Professor (deceased) at Carnegie Mellon University
As the quotation above suggests, any conversation about effective teaching must begin with a consideration of how students learn. Yet instructors who want to investigate the mechanisms and conditions that promote student learning may find themselves caught between two kinds of resources: research articles with technical discussions of learning, or books and Web sites with concrete strategies for course design and classroom pedagogy. Texts of the first type focus on learning but are often technical, inaccessible, and lack clear application to the classroom, while texts of the second type are written in accessible language but often leave instructors without a clear sense of why (or even whether) particular strategies promote learning. Neither of these genres offers what many instructors really need—a model of student learning that enables them to make sound teaching decisions. In other words, instructors need a bridge between research and practice, between teaching and learning.
We wrote this book to provide such a bridge. The book grew out of over twenty-nine years of experience ...