Visible Learning? A meta study of 50,000 studies

I first read that as Visual Learning, but it is not the learning style. The Japan branch of the ASCD is having a conference in Tokyo Feb. 28 and Mar. 1, and Debra Masters, from VisibleLearningPlus, is the keynote speaker. Member price is about $300 for the 2-day conference, which is a little high for Japan. Evidently she spoke last year and had many request for a repeat. I decided to find out why.

The announcement for the conference says

According to John Hattie’s widely respected research, using feedback that encourages visible learning is one of the most effective models of education. Deb Masters will focus on developing the skills of effective feedback to create visible learners.

And over at the Visible-Learning site, we learn what John Hattie did in 2008 to start off this whole thing.

Visible Learning is nothing less than a synthesis of more than 50.000 studies covering more than 80 million pupils. Hattie uses the statistical measure effect size to compare the impact of many influences on students’ achievement, e.g. class size, holidays, feedback, and learning strategies.


John Hattie was able to crunch the numbers and create what could never have been done before; to reach some very surprising results, and other indications which are not so surprising. His 2008 book on his meta-study lead to another with implications for teachers in 2012. In it he was able to make some deserved generalizations.

The following examples may give an impression of the scope of Hattie’s findings:

  • What’s bad? Retention, summer holidays
  • What’s neither bad nor good? Team teaching, open vs. traditional classes
  • What helps a bit? Class size, homework
  • What helps a bit more? Cooperative learning, direct instruction
  • What helps a lot? Feedback, Student-teacher relationships

This certainly looks like something that could use more attention. The teacher is at the core of the changes in students, and the relationship between them is all important. This from Visible Learning

According to John Hattie Visible Learning and Teaching occurs when teachers see learning through the eyes of students and help them become their own teachers.

That about sums it up. More about this as I find out.

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