The field of specialization known as the science of learning is not, in fact, one field. Science of learning is a term that serves as an umbrella for many lines of research, theory, and application. A term with an even wider reach is Learning Sciences (Sawyer, 2006). The present book represents a sliver, albeit a substantial one, of the scholarship on the science of learning and its application in educational settings (Science of Instruction, Mayer 2011). Although much, but not all, of what is presented in this book is focused on learning in college and university settings, teachers of all academic levels may find the recommendations made by chapter authors of service. The overarching theme of this book is on the interplay between the science of learning, the science of instruction, and the science of assessment (Mayer, 2011). The science of learning is a systematic and empirical approach to understanding how people learn. More formally, Mayer (2011) defined the science of learning as the “scientific study of how people learn” (p. 3). The science of instruction (Mayer 2011), informed in part by the science of learning, is also on display throughout the book. Mayer defined the science of instruction as the “scientific study of how to help people learn” (p. 3). Finally, the assessment of student learning (e.g., learning, remembering, transferring knowledge) during and after instruction helps us determine the effectiveness of our instructional methods. Mayer defined the science of assessment as the “scientific study of how to determine what people know” (p.3). Most of the research and applications presented in this book are completed within a science of learning framework. Researchers first conducted research to understand how people learn in certain controlled contexts (i.e., in the laboratory) and then they, or others, began to consider how these understandings could be applied in educational settings. Work on the cognitive load theory of learning, which is discussed in depth in several chapters of this book (e.g., Chew; Lee and Kalyuga; Mayer; Renkl), provides an excellent example that documents how science of learning has led to valuable work on the science of instruction. Most of the work described in this book is based on theory and research in cognitive psychology. We might have selected other topics (and, thus, other authors) that have their research base in behavior analysis, computational modeling and computer science, neuroscience, etc. We made the selections we did because the work of our authors ties together nicely and seemed to us to have direct applicability in academic settings.



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American Psychological Association

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