Whether you're training to play the piano, speak a foreign language, shoot a target with a bow and arrow, or master the techniques of fine carpentry, the conditions of your training will affect how successfully you learn and perform.

  • How can you process new information in order to remember it better and use it in the future?
  • How long should you work, study, or practice before taking a break?
  • Is it desirable or even possible to "overlearn"?
  • How can you counteract fatigue and boredom to improve performance if the task is tedious? 

Cognitive psychologists Lyle Bourne and Alice Healy have studied these and other questions for decades to determine the best training conditions for learning and job performance. Readers will learn how best to acquire, retain, and transfer knowledge and skills to new situations.

Not only are the basics of effective training principles explained, but exercises in the form of mini-experiments are provided so that readers can see first-hand why some learning conditions are better than others.

Regardless of what subject or skill you're learning, you can maximize your training for higher levels of performance. This book tells you how.

Table of Contents



  1. What's This Book All About?
  2. How to Learn Quickly: Increasing the Efficiency of Training
  3. How to Retain What You Learn: Increasing the Durability of Training
  4. How to Apply What You Learn to New Situations: Increasing the Generalizability of Training
  5. Refreshing Your Skills, Aging, and Debunking Myths About Training

Recommended Additional Reading



About the Authors

Author Bios

Lyle E. Bourne, Jr., PhD, is Professor Emeritus and former chairman of the Department of Psychology and former director of the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado. He has served as president of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association; president of the Federation of Cognitive, Psychological, and Behavioral Sciences; and president of both APA Division 3 (Experimental Psychology) and APA Division 1 (Society for General Psychology).

Alice F. Healy, PhD, is College Professor of Distinction and director of the Center for Research on Training at the University of Colorado. She has served as editor of Memory & Cognition, chair of the Psychology Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, president of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, president of APA Division 3 (Experimental Psychology), and chair of the Society of Experimental Psychologists.