Make It Stick - Summary and Key Ideas

"Make It Stick" presents the science of successful learning, emphasizing that effective learning involves actively engaging with material, making connections with prior knowledge, and frequently recalling information to strengthen memory. It also highlights that struggle and effort in learning lead to deeper understanding and long-term retention.

The target group of "Make It Stick" includes learners, teachers, and trainers who are interested in understanding and implementing highly effective learning techniques.

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Make It Stick

Key ideas


Mastering the ability to learn is crucial for success in any field, and this responsibility lies with the individual, not the education system.

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Learning is often misunderstood: Not easy repetitions, but effortful learning, leads to deeper and more durable knowledge retention.

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Retrieval practice, the act of actively recalling information, not only identifies knowledge gaps but also strengthens memory connections, thereby enhancing knowledge retention and understanding.

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Mix it up: Varied, spaced, and interleaved practice is superior over traditional repetitive practice.

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Don’t shy away from the hard work of learning, embrace the challenges and make a deliberate effort to recall and apply what you've learned.

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Regular self-quizzing, frequent testing, and accurate self-assessment are crucial tools to avoid illusions of knowing and enhance effective learning.

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Scientific evidence does not support the idea that matching teaching methods to individual learning styles enhances learning; instead, factors like motivation, support, and compensating skills play a crucial role.

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Increasing your abilities hinges not on natural talent or IQ, but on discipline, grit, a growth mindset, expert-like practice, memory cues, and the belief in the malleability of intelligence.

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Summary & Review

"Make It Stick" by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel, presents a new understanding of how we learn and remember. The authors argue that learning is not about being able to remember information for a test, but about acquiring knowledge that can be used in different contexts over time. They debunk common learning myths and provide practical strategies for effective learning.

Peter C. Brown

Peter C. Brown is a retired management consultant based in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has a diverse background, with experience in engineering, corporate public affairs, and political campaign management.

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