Teaching & Learning Principles-Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation - Carnegie Mellon University


Learning results from what the student does and thinks and only from what the student does and thinks. Herb Simon quote

This learner-centered perspective is a hallmark of the Eberly Center’s approach to teaching. We strive to empower instructors by helping them develop a deep understanding of how students learn, so that they can effectively apply and adapt teaching strategies to meet their own goals and their students’ needs.  The purpose of the following materials is to present current research and theory on student learning in a way that can inform and guide effective teaching practices.

Learning Principles

This section introduces some key concepts from the cognitive and educational research literatures and presents a concise set of seven principles on how students learn.

Teaching Principles

This section identifies a set of seven principles for effective teaching.

Related Info:

The Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center is currently conducting research on a related set of principles.

To learn more about research on teaching and learning, please contact the Eberly Center to arrange for a consultation.

  1. Students' prior knowledge can help or hinder learning.  |  MORE
  2. How students organize knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they know.   |  MORE
  3. Students' motivation determines, directs, and sustains what they do to learn.  |  MORE
  4. To develop mastery, students must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply what they have learned.  |  MORE
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learning principles

  1. Effective teaching involves acquiring relevant knowledge about students and using that knowledge to inform our course design and classroom teaching.  |  MORE
  2. Effective teaching involves aligning the three major components of instruction: learning objectives, assessments, and instructional activities.  |  MORE
  3. Effective teaching involves articulating explicit expectations regarding learning objectives and policies.  |  MORE
  4. Effective teaching involves prioritizing the knowledge, skills and attitudes we choose to focus on.  |  MORE
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teaching principles