Expanded Edition

How People Learn

Brain, Mind, Experience, and School

Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning

John D.Bransford, Ann L.Brown, and Rodney R.Cocking, editors

with additional material from the

Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice

M.Suzanne Donovan, John D.Bransford, and James W.Pellegrino, editors

Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.



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How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School Expanded Edition How People Learn Brain, Mind, Experience, and School Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning John D.Bransford, Ann L.Brown, and Rodney R.Cocking, editors with additional material from the Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice M.Suzanne Donovan, John D.Bransford, and James W.Pellegrino, editors Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.

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How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Grant No. R117U40001-94A between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data How people learn: brain, mind, experience, and school/John D. Bransford…[et al.], editors; Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning and Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council.—Expanded ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-309-07036-8 (pbk.) 1. Learning, Psychology of. 2. Learning—Social aspects. I. Bransford, John. II. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning. III. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice. IV. Title. LB1060 .H672 2000 370.15’23–dc21 00–010144 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Call 800–624–6242 or 202–334–3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan Area). This volume is also available on line at http://www.nap.edu Printed in the United States of America Copyright 2000 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M.Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A.Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A.Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School In Memory of Ann L.Brown (1943–1999) Scholar and Scientist Champion of Children and Those Who Teach Them Whose Vision It Was to Bring Learning Research into the Classroom

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How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School COMMITTEE ON DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SCIENCE OF LEARNING JOHN D.BRANSFORD (Cochair), Learning Technology Center, Vanderbilt University ANN L.BROWN (Cochair), Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley JOHN R.ANDERSON, Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University ROCHEL GELMAN, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles ROBERT GLASER, Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh WILLIAM T.GREENOUGH, Department of Psychology and Beckman Institute, University of Illinois, Urbana GLORIA LADSON-BILLINGS, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin, Madison BARBARA M.MEANS, Education and Health Division, SRI International, Menlo Park, California JOSÉ P.MESTRE, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst LINDA NATHAN, Boston Arts Academy, Boston, Massachusetts ROY D.PEA, Center for Technology in Learning, SRI International, Menlo Park, California PENELOPE L.PETERSON, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University BARBARA ROGOFF, Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz THOMAS A.ROMBERG, National Center for Research in Mathematical Sciences Education, University of Wisconsin, Madison SAMUEL S.WINEBURG, College of Education, University of Washington, Seattle RODNEY R.COCKING, Study Director M.JANE PHILLIPS, Senior Project Assistant

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How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School COMMITTEE ON LEARNING RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL PRACTICE JOHN D.BRANSFORD (Cochair), Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University JAMES W.PELLEGRINO (Cochair), Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University DAVID BERLINER, Department of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe MYRNA S.COONEY, Taft Middle School, Cedar Rapids, IA ARTHUR EISENKRAFT, Bedford Public Schools, Bedford, NY HERBERT P.GINSBURG, Department of Human Development, Teachers College, Columbia University PAUL D.GOREN, John D. and Catherine T.MacArthur Foundation, Chicago JOSÉ P.MESTRE, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst ANNEMARIE S.PALINCSAR, School of Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor ROY PEA, SRI International, Menlo Park, CA M.SUZANNE DONOVAN, Study Director WENDELL GRANT, Senior Project Assistant

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How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School Preface This expanded edition of How People Learn is the result of the work of two committees of the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Research Council (NRC). The original volume, published in April 1999, was the product of a 2-year study conducted by the Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning. Following its publication, a second NRC committee, the Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice, was formed to carry that volume an essential step further by exploring the critical issue of how better to link the findings of research on the science of learning to actual practice in the classroom. The results of that effort were captured in How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice, published in June 1999. The present volume draws on that report to expand on the findings, conclusions, and research agenda presented in the original volume. During the course of these efforts, a key contributor and one of the most eloquent voices on the importance of applying the science of learning to classroom practice was lost. The educational community mourns the death of Ann L.Brown, Graduate School of Education, University of California at Berkeley, cochair of the Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning and an editor of How People Learn. Her insight and dedication to improving education through science will be sorely missed. John D.Bransford, Cochair Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice

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How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School This page in the original is blank.

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How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School Contents Part I Introduction     1   Learning: From Speculation to Science   3 Part II Learners and Learning     2   How Experts Differ from Novices   31 3   Learning and Transfer   51 4   How Children Learn   79 5   Mind and Brain   114 Part III Teachers and Teaching     6   The Design of Learning Environments   131 7   Effective Teaching: Examples in History, Mathematics, and Science   155 8   Teacher Learning   190 9   Technology to Support Learning   206

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How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School Part IV Future Directions for the Science of Learning     10   Conclusions   233 11   Next Steps for Research   248 References   285 Biographical Sketches of Committees’ Members and Staff   349 Acknowledgments   358 Index   363