Handbook of Research on Learning and Instruction

Editors Mayer and Alexander have compiled 22 chapters synthesizing research in Learning (Part I) and Instruction (Part II). Readers must remember that this is a compiled compendium of meta analysis in 22 selected topics, 11 in Learning and 11 in Instruction. I believe it is a must own and read for every graduate student, faculty in any field of education. I also believe it is a must read for all academic administrators. The Handbook provides a cogent summary and balanced view of the subjects covered although it may not do justice to conflicts in certain areas and disciplines as pointed out in the opinion of another reviewer. I do not believe this diminishes the vale of the Editors and Contributors work.I have recommended this book to numerous clients with very favorable results and consistent votes of among the most valuable in recent reads.
– Michael G. Dolence


From the jacket

During the past twenty years researchers have made exciting progress in the science of learning (i.e., how people learn) and the science of instruction (i.e., how to help people learn). This Handbook examines learning and instruction in a variety of classroom and non-classroom environments and with a variety of learners, both K-16 students and adult learners. The chapters are written by leading researchers from around the world, all of whom are highly regarded experts on their particular topics.

The book is divided into two sections: learning and instruction. The learning section consists of chapters on how people learn in reading, writing, mathematics, science, history, second languages, and physical education, as well as learning to think critically, learning to self-monitor, and learning with motivation. The instruction section consists of chapters on effective instructional methods – feedback, examples, self-explanation, peer interaction, cooperative learning, inquiry, discussion, tutoring, visualizations, and computer simulations. Each chapter reviews empirical research in a specific domain and is structured as follows:

  • Introduction – Defines key constructs and provides illustrative examples or cases.
  • Historical Overview – Summarizes the historical context for the topic or domain.
  • Theoretical Framework – Summarizes major models or theories related to the topic or domain.
  • Current Trends and Issues – Synthesizes the research literature and highlights key findings or conclusions.
  • Practical Implications – Suggests relevance of the research for educational practice.
  • Future Directions – Considers next steps or stages needed for future research

eLearning Fact vs Fiction

The following resources are great places to begin sorting out the facts about Digital Learning Environments and the development, evolution and effectiveness of eLearning. Understanding the effectiveness, design, efficiencies, and operation of digital learning environments is a process that takes longer than a five minute web flyby. But these flybys should get a first round of questions raised and framed.

The first, a quick read, is a post titled 30 Criticisms Of eLearning That Just Might Be Myths.  It appeared in the te@chthought.com blog on January 13 2013.

The second is an excellent read (a bit older but very timely) posted by Marc Rosenberg October 11, 2011 in a two part article in Learning Solutions Magazine titled eLearning Myths Part1 and Part 2. Marc outlines and frames 11 items as candidates for eLearning myth.

While we are at it why don’t we begin to explore other education myths. As a jumping off point the 18 Myths of Education Infographic posted November 22, 2013 on eLearninginfographics.com  should serve to queue up some questions.