Making learning stick

By Gaylynn Parker, Maria C. Guilott, Karen Wigby and Leslie Ann Owen
April 2020
Vol 41, No. 2
A dilemma for teachers at all levels is planning for transfer of learning, or students’ long-term retention. Most teachers consider their lessons a success if students can acquire information and understand it. But it is not until students can apply what they learn that there is cause for celebration. Much has been written about how difficult it is to achieve transfer, the third of three learning stages. The previous two are easier to accomplish: acquisition, or taking in a body of information, and meaning-making, which involves analysis and synthesis to make sense of the learning at hand (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). Getting students to transfer, or application, is difficult to achieve, but essential. Transfer of learning takes time, a precious commodity for teachers bound by

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Maria C. Guilott, Karen Wigby, Leslie Ann Owen, and Gaylynn Parker

Maria C. Guilott ( is visiting professor and Karen Wigby ( is professor at Universidad Casa Grande in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Leslie Ann Owen ( is dean of teaching and learning at St. Mary’s School in Raleigh, North Carolina. Gaylynn Parker ( was assistant dean before retiring from the University of Southern Mississippi.


Guilott, M. & Parker, G. (2012). A value added decision. Outskirts Press.

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2011). The Understanding by Design guide to creating high-quality units. ASCD.

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design. ASCD.

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