gms | German Medical Science

14. Grazer Konferenz – Qualität der Lehre: New Horizons in Teaching and Learning

22. - 24.04.2010, Wien, Österreich

Understanding how we learn, implications for how we teach


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  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Geoff Norman - McMaster University, Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

14. Grazer Konferenz – Qualität der Lehre: New Horizons in Teaching and Learning. Wien, Österreich, 22.-24.04.2010. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2010. Doc10grako11

doi: 10.3205/10grako11, urn:nbn:de:0183-10grako110

Published: November 18, 2010

© 2010 Norman.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.


Cognitive psychology has provided many insights into how people learn that can inform our teaching strategies. In this presentation I will review findings from the psychology of learning in five domains: memory (learning and remembering), transfer (using old concepts to solve new problems), deliberate practice and its critical role in transfer, experiential knowledge as a component of expertise, and the role (if any) of general strategic skills (problem-solving, critical thinking, reflection, etc.). In each area, I will begin with examples, review the evidence, then draw implications for more effective teaching.