How Students Learn Part 1

Laws of Learning

Discover the laws of learning and how students use the knowledge they acquire in the classroom. New teachers will find this advice particularly valuable, especially for back to school.

These laws apply to any student at any grade and in any subject area. Just as important, they are also supportive of what we know about brain growth and development. Although they have direct application for you as a classroom teacher, you’ll note they are also applicable to adults who want to learn, too.


  • Law of readiness. Students learn more easily when they have a desire to learn. Conversely, students learn with difficulty if they’re not interested in the topic.


  • Law of effect. Learning will always be much more effective when a feeling of satisfaction, pleasantness, or reward is part of the process.


  • Law of relaxation. Students learn best and remember longest when they are relaxed. Reducing stress increases learning and retention.


  • Law of association. Learning makes sense (comprehension) when the mind compares a new idea with something already known.


  • Law of involvement. Students learn best when they take an active part in what is to be learned.


  • Law of exercise. The more often an act is repeated or information reviewed, the more quickly and more permanently it will become a habit or an easily remembered piece of information.


  • Law of relevance. Effective learning is relevant to the student’s life.
APM Reports
  • Law of intensity. A vivid, exciting, enthusiastic, enjoyable learning experience is more likely to be remembered than a boring, unpleasant one.


  • Law of challenge. Students learn best when they’re challenged with novelty, a variety of materials, and a range of instructional strategies.


  • Law of feedback. Effective learning takes place when students receive immediate and specific feedback on their performance.


  • Law of recency. Practicing a skill or new concept just before using it will ensure a more effective performance.


  • Law of expectations. Learners’ reaction to instruction is shaped by their expectations related to the material (How successful will I be?).


  • Law of emotions. The emotional state (and involvement) of students will shape how well and how much they learn.


  • Law of differences. Students learn in different ways. One size does not fit all!



Ref: TeacherVision

Excerpted from

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Success as a Teacher © 2005 by Anthony D. Fredericks. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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