Principles of Learning

Although each student’s experiences are unique, there are core principles of learning that have repeatedly been shown to improve learning for the majority of learners. We have listed resources here that describe those core principles and provide ways to implement them in your own teaching. This page represents vetted resources but is not an exhaustive list.


  • Ambrose, S.A., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M.C., & Norman, M.K. (2010). How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. Jossey-Bass.
  • Brown, P. C., Roediger, H. L., & McDaniel, M. A. (2014). Make it stick. Harvard University Press.
  • Doyle, T., Zakrajsek, T. (2013). The new science of learning: How to learn in harmony with your brain. Stylus.
  • Dunlosky, J. & Metcalfe, J. (2008). Metacognition. Sage Publications.
  • Gazzaley, A., & Rosen, L. D. (2016). The distracted mind: Ancient brains in a high-tech world. MIT Press.
  • Lang, J. M. (2016). Small teaching: Everyday lessons from the science of learning. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Schwartz, D.L., Tsang, J.M., & Blair, K.P. (2016). The ABCs of how we learn: 26 scientifically proven approaches, how they work, and when to use them. W.W. Norton & Company.
  • Willingham, D. T. (2009). Why Don’t students like school? Jossey-Bass.

Journal Articles

  • Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4-58.
  • Fischer, K. W., Daniel, D. B., Immordino-Yang, M. H., Stern, E., Battro, A., & Koizumi, H. (2007). Why mind, brain, and education? Why now? Mind, Brain, and Education, 1(1), 1-2.


The Learning Scientists

The purpose of this site is to “make scientific research on learning more accessible to students, teachers, and other educators.” It features weekly blog posts focused on evidence-based education, particularly related to cognition: articles about learning, study strategies, or teaching strategies, with an emphasis on research-based recommendations.

The Johns Hopkins Science of Learning Institute

This institute conducts researchers, trains future leaders, and connects science to practice and provides resources for teaching and learning.

Researchers to follow

Journals to check for new work on learning

(not all articles will be relevant, search keywords such as “student” “learning” “memory” “teaching”)