Category Archives: cognition


Why designing experiments is so hard for students & what we can do to help! 9

We’ve all heard all about how inquiry is important in science classrooms.  So why is it so hard to do?  And why are there still so teachers reluctant to do it?  Well, for lots of reasons actually…but this post will just talk about one of them – because it’s really hard to do it AND […]

CognitiveLoadTheory3

Myth #1 of Mastery Learning – It’s self-taught

While running a mastery learning science classroom, I encountered a lot of myths – from students, parents, administrators and colleagues.  My book on mastery in the science classroom walks you through a lot of these and how to deal with them.  I’ll address some from time to time on this blog! So the first one […]


Mastery Learning, the Flipped Classroom and My Version of Combining the Two 7

In the past couple of years in my work with mastery learning, I’ve continually run across the Flipped Classroom movement. In fact, my book and theirs are even sold in a bundle together at Amazon. We attract a lot of the same teachers looking to change their classrooms and we do a lot of the […]


How do we decide if/which technology is appropriate?

There’s been much discussion lately on twitter concerning technology in education (e-books, ensuring equitable access to technology, etc.) and it got me thinking. I added my own comment to the #edchat (“We need to be sure to fit the technology to the content and not the content to the technology”) and wrote a blog about […]


Do you really remember what it was like to not know your subject-area?

Is it even possible to step back and see your class through the eyes of someone that knows nothing about what you’re teaching?  The longer you teach, or have experience with your subject, the farther you move away from this novice viewpoint.  Keep reading to see why it’s important to do that and what happened […]


How can we get students to use their powers for good rather than evil?

OK, so not “evil” but how can we get them to use the ingenuity, dedication, critical thinking, creativity and honest hard work that they apply to their everyday interests to school? I just watched an animation of a talk on motivation.  The talk is speaking specifically about motivation in the workplace and the pretty counter-intuitive […]


Teaching with Worked Examples – Save learner time and effort while increasing performance! 6

I’ve done a lot of study in cognitive theory, specifically cognitive load theory, during my graduate work.  One of the best take-home lessons I learned (and immediately implemented in my classroom with great success) was how and when to use worked examples. I taught chemistry, and even though I tried really hard to make sure […]


Retrieving information just as beneficial as elaborately encoding it! 1

It’s commonly thought that how information is encoded in our mind is the key to “learning it” and that retrieval of that information is just a way to “show” that we learned it.  But a report shows that the act of practicing retrieving information is, in itself, an important (and maybe more important) key to […]