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Visible Learning for Social Studies, Grades K-12 - Book Cover

Visible Learning for Social Studies, Grades K-12

Designing Student Learning for Conceptual Understanding

By: John Allan Hattie, Julie Harris Stern, Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey

Visible Learning encapsulates a scaffolded approach in which students move from surface-level learning to deep learning, concluding with the transfer of concepts, skills, and strategies.

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781544380827
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Series: Corwin Teaching Essentials
  • Year: 2020
  • Page Count: 192
  • Publication date: April 24, 2020

Price: $41.95

Price: $41.95
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Read this review from the National Social Studies Supervisors Association, Spring 2021:

Help students move from surface-level learning to the transfer of understanding.

How do social studies teachers maximize instruction to ensure students are prepared for an informed civic life? VISIBLE LEARNING® for Social Studies, Grades K-12 shows how the field is more than simply memorizing dates and facts—it encapsulates the skillful ability to conduct investigations, analyze sources, place events in historical context, and synthesize divergent points of view.

The Visible Learning framework demonstrates that learning is not an event, but rather a process in which students move from surface-level learning to deep learning, and then onto the transfer of concepts, skills, and strategies. Encouraging learners to explore different facets of society, history, geography, and more, best practices for applying visible learning to social studies curriculum are presented through:

·         A scaffolded approach, including surface-level learning, deep learning, and transfer of learning

·         Examples of strategies, lessons, and activities best suited for each level of learning

·         Planning tools, rubrics, and templates to guide instruction

Teachers must understand the impact they have on students and select approaches to maximize that impact. This book will guide you through the process of identifying the right strategy for the right time to successfully move students through surface, deep, and transfer learning.


Key features

  • Strategies supported by the Visible Learning research
  • Examples across disciplines within social studies
  • Planning tools
  • Rubrics
  • Templates


John Allan Hattie photo

John Allan Hattie

John Hattie, Ph.D., is an award-winning education researcher and best-selling author with nearly 30 years of experience examining what works best in student learning and achievement. His research, better known as Visible Learning, is a culmination of nearly 30 years synthesizing more than 1,700 meta-analyses comprising more than 100,000 studies involving over 300 million students around the world. He has presented and keynoted in over 350 international conferences and has received numerous recognitions for his contributions to education. His notable publications include Visible Learning, Visible Learning for Teachers, Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn, Visible Learning for Mathematics, Grades K-12, and 10 Mindframes for Visible Learning.
Julie Harris Stern photo

Julie Harris Stern

Julie Stern is the best-selling author of Tools for Teaching Conceptual Understanding, Elementary and Secondary, Visible Learning for Social Studies, and Learning That Transfers. She is the thought leader behind the global workshop series Making Sense of Learning Transfer, and is a certified trainer in Visible Learning Plus. Her passion is synthesizing the best of education research into practical tools that support educators in breaking free of the industrial model of schooling and moving toward teaching and learning that promotes sustainability, equity, and well-being. She is a James Madison Constitutional Fellow and taught social studies for many years in Washington, DC and her native Louisiana. Julie moves internationally every few years with her husband, a US diplomat, and her two young sons. Her website is

Douglas Fisher photo

Douglas Fisher

Douglas Fisher, Ph.D., is professor and chair of educational leadership at San Diego State University and a leader at Health Sciences High and Middle College. Previously, Doug was an early intervention teacher and elementary school educator. He is the recipient of an International Reading Association William S. Grey citation of merit and an Exemplary Leader award from the Conference on English Leadership of NCTE. He has published numerous articles on teaching and learning as well as books such as The Teacher Clarity Playbook, PLC+, Visible Learning for Literacy, Comprehension: The Skill, Will, and Thrill of Reading, How Tutoring Works, and How Learning Works. Doug loves being an educator and hopes to share that passion with others.

Nancy Frey photo

Nancy Frey

Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is a Professor in Educational Leadership at San Diego State and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High and Middle College. She is a member of the International Literacy Association’s Literacy Research Panel. Her published titles include Visible Learning in Literacy, This Is Balanced Literacy, Removing Labels, and Rebound. Nancy is a credentialed special educator, reading specialist, and administrator in California and learns from teachers and students every day.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Videos

About the Authors


Chapter 1. Laying the Groundwork for VISIBLE LEARNING® for Social Studies

     The Evidence Base

     Noticing What Works

     Learning From What Works

     General Learning Practices


Chapter 2. Surface Learning in Social Studies

     Why Surface Learning Is Essential

     Surface Acquisition and Consolidation

     Acquisition of Social Studies Learning Made Visible

     Consolidation of Social Studies Learning Made Visible


Chapter 3. Deep Learning in Social Studies

     Moving From Surface to Deep

     Deep Acquisition and Deep Consolidation

     Deep Acquisition of Social Studies Learning Made Visible

     Deep Consolidation of Social Studies Learning Made Visible


Chapter 4. Teaching for Transfer in Social Studies

     Moving From Deep Learning to Transfer

     Types of Transfer: Near and Far

     The Paths of Transfer: Low-Road Hugging and High-Road Bridging

     Setting the Conditions for Transfer of Learning

     Teaching Students to Organize Conceptual Knowledge

     Teaching Students to Transform Conceptual Knowledge


Chapter 5. Determining Impact, Responding, and Knowing What Does Not Work

     Determining Impact

     Responding When There Is Insufficient Impact

     Learning From What Doesn’t Work