The research behind our ‘Five Myths’ article

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The research behind our ‘Five Myths’ article

By Dr Nina Hood

I have been asked to provide some of the references that informed the ‘Five Myths About Teaching and Learning’ article that we released earlier this week. Here are some places to start (unfortunately some of them are behind publishers’ pay walls – one of the reasons for The Education Hub’s existence, to enable teachers to access research freely and openly, and hopefully in a readable and useable form).

For a general review of the common “myths” present in education books, see:

Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest. Retrieved from This article also provides some useful information about re-reading. Willingham, also has recently added an important qualifier or explanation to the re-reading research; while re-reading does not lead to memorisation, it can aid in understanding. It is important to remember that if a student did not understand a text the first time they engaged with it, then re-reading it, sometimes multiple times, can aid in building their understanding. Understanding (or comprehension) is of course the first stage of learning, followed by memory and then application.

For a review (albeit from a while ago) on students’ controlling the pace of their learning: Niemiec, R. P., Sikorski, C., & Walberg, H. J. (1996). Learner-control effects: A review of reviews and a meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Computing Research. Retrieved from

There also have been a number of studies recently conducted on personalisation. This article in Forbes provides a good starting point, examining the controversies in the evidence-base and also providing links to further readings.

For a critique of the learning styles research, have a look at Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2008). Learning styles: Concepts and evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest. Retrieved from

An article from 2012 by Roediger and Pyc, on techniques for applying cognitive psychology to enhance educational practice provides a useful starting point for exploring the research behind the importance of regular low stakes testing as well as the role of knowledge in creative thinking.

We hope that these references enable you to dig a bit deeper into the learning science evidence base. And we are grateful to the teacher who suggested we put together this list (it is a reminder that we should include references in all the work we release, particularly given we are all about the importance of evidence!).


Dr Nina Hood

Nina is responsible for the strategic direction and day-to-day operations of The Education Hub. She is a trained secondary school teacher, and taught at Epsom Girls Grammar and Mt Roskill Grammar in Auckland. She undertook an MSc (with distinction) in learning and technology, and a DPhil in Education at the University of Oxford. Since returning to New Zealand in mid-2015, Nina has been employed as a lecturer at the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland, where she specialises in new technologies in education.

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