The Chalk Blog

6 Tricks to Make Learning Sticky!

Designing Brain-Friendly Lessons for Students


Have you ever been in the middle of teaching a lesson, and refer to something students learned days, weeks or months prior, and get this response-- “I’ve never learned that!” or “You never taught us how to do that!” I can’t tell you how many times in my 16-year career I’ve heard my students say this to me. With frustration, I always put it back on the students explaining that I taught them the information last month or that last year's teacher surely covered the skill. 

What I realize now, after learning more about the psychology of learning, is that more often than not those kids were right! The students hadn’t ever really learned the skill I taught them. Most likely they had just memorized information for the test and promptly forgotten. The learning wasn’t relevant, emotionally engaging or connected to prior knowledge, so it didn’t stick! It turns out that while I may have gone through the motions of teaching, the facts and skills just didn’t stay with them.

Over the last couple of decades, learning psychology experts have provided the research we need to understand not only how to teach, but more importantly, how the brain learns. This new information helps educators create learning experiences that stick with our students days, months, and even years later. 

To help you remember the best ways to make learning sticky for students, psychologist Stella Collins has developed the acronym LEARNS. It acts as a checklist or set of rules to consider as you’re developing lessons for your students.

Take a look at the visual below to find out more.

These 6 tricks help make learning stickier, and an added benefit is that you’re teaching your students to understand how their complex brain learns. Armed with this knowledge, students will be able to improve their study habits and find success in future learning endeavors.

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Student Brain Development

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