Activity Directions: Research on How Students Learn

For more information about how to use this activity to support How Students Learn, see the Action Overview: How Students Learn.

Learning Objective

1. Participants will gain awareness of prominent ideas from current research on how students learn



45 minutes


1. Have access available to the websites via tablets or laptops.

2. Invite educators to participate. The meetings could be organized by content area groups or other sub-groups.


1. Group participants by similar content areas and/or grade levels they teach.

2. Ask teachers to brainstorm their ideas about factors that affect how students learn

a. What key ideas inform your understanding of how students learn in your subject area and grade level? (if possible refer to some learning theories that inform your ideas)

b. How do you use those ideas in your teaching? (give examples from your teaching to illustrate those ideas?)

3. Jigsaw readings: Summarize main ideas as they impact instruction

a. Mindsetworks - Explore Research into Growth Mindsets and Why Mindsets Matter

b. The Science of Learning (Deans for Impact)

c. How Students Learn - Key Findings Use pages 10 - 18

d. How Students Learn II - Summary (NRC 2018) - Use the first four sections


1. Individually read the article or explore the website (about 10 minutes)

2. Share within your small group - write key ideas to share to the whole group

3. Report back to the whole group

4. Discuss: Application to future Standards-based Education System work. Write these questions on a chart paper or slide.

What ideas should inform our future work in:

· selecting instructional practices to focus on

· designing curriculum plans

· selecting instructional materials

· designing common assessments


Deans for Impact. (2015). The science of learning. Austin, TX

Mindset Works. (2017). Decades of Scientific Research that Started a Growth Mindset Revolution.

National Research Council (1999). How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice. National Academy Press. 

National Research Council (2018). How People Learn II: learners, Contexts, and Cultures. National Academy Press.