Visible Learning Meta-Study


John Hattie’s meta study Visible Learning (2009) is a milestone of educational research. The Times Educational Supplement called it ‘holy grail of teaching‘. Hattie’s book gives an evidence based answer to the question ‘What works best for students’ achievement?’

Hattie’s book is designed as a meta-meta-study that collects, compares and analyses the findings of many previous studies in education. Hattie focuses on schools in the English-speaking world but most aspects of the underlying story should be transferable to other countries and school systems as well.

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.

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

Hattie’s round-up of core influences for better learning outcomes has many implications of what is good teaching and how to become a successful school: First, teachers are the central aspect of successful learning in schools. Second, Hattie’s results suggest that school reform should concentrate on what is going on in the classroom and not on structural reforms.

In 2012 Hattie published the follow up Visible Learning For Teachers that concentrates on the underlying story behind the data and provides many concrete and hands on example for Visible Learning in the classroom. In many countries Hattie’s findings have already become an important part of teachers professional development. Others will follow.

Get the book: Amazon / Kindle / Library

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  1. […] Hattie’s 2009 book Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement, pulls together huge amounts of educational research, giving individual elements of teaching and […]

  2. […] of multiple approaches to learning mathematics are within this recently published book. 7. “Visible Learning” (by Hattie) – this is probably re-read #7 for me with this book. This time, I’m picking […]

  3. […] how can we change and improve kids learning in school.  There is a lot of research on this, with John Hattie’s work standing out.  Unfortunately, it seems like many of the directions and approaches taken up in here […]

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  5. […] learning progression or checklist you will use to study students’ work. As John Hattie posits in Visible Learning, his meta-study of structures that lead to student achievement, end goals must be clearly […]

  6. […] Visible Learning Meta-Study | VISIBLE LEARNING. […]

  7. […] This direction was backed up by John Hattie’s research where he identified ‘feedback’ as one of the strategies with the highest effect sizes. One of the things that ‘expert’ teachers do to make a difference in their classrooms. Importantly he also identified that “feedback was most powerful when it is from the student to the teacher……………and then teaching and learning can be synchronized and powerful” (Hattie 2009). […]

  8. […] receiving that treatment would exceed 84% of students not receiving that treatment” (Source). That last bit in bold helps me understand effect sizes a bit better. It’s called the […]

  9. […] journey based on a conversation regarding the use of research in John Hattie’s 2009 book Visible Learning, by some school authorities and leadership teams to question the role of school libraries and […]

  10. […] that good teaching improves student learning at the college level. She pointed to John Hattie’s 2009 synthesis of 800 meta-analyses, which found strong positive correlations between student outcomes and effective teaching […]

  11. […] John Hattie’s meta study Visible Learning (2009) is a milestone of educational research. The Times Educational Supplement called it ‘holy grail of teaching‘. Hattie’s book gives an evidence based answer to the question ‘What works best for students’ achievement?’ Hattie’s…Read more ›  […]

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Further reading
About Visible Learning
Visible Learning means an enhanced role for teachers as they become evaluators of their own teaching. Visible Teaching and Learning occurs when teachers see learning through the eyes of students and help them become their own teachers.

Visible Learning plus is a professional development programme for teachers. It provides an in-depth review and change model for schools based on John Hattie's research. With a seminar and support series the Visible Learning plus team helps schools to find out about the impact they are having on student achievement.