Book Review: Jonathan Bergmann’s “The Mastery Learning Handbook”
Cover of Jonathan Bergman's book The Mastery Learning Handbook
Written by: George Sawyer
Published on: 08 Jan 2024

A Wealth of Experience

In the slowly-evolving landscape of education, Jonathan Bergmann’s “The Mastery Learning Handbook” (ASCD, 2023) stands out as a groundbreaking resource in the field of education, offering a comprehensive guide to the implementation of mastery learning. Bergmann, a seasoned educator and co-founder of the flipped learning model, draws upon his wealth of experience to provide educators with practical insights, examples, and a hands-on project aimed at revolutionizing their teaching methodologies.

The foundation of Bergmann’s handbook lies in the concept of mastery learning, an approach centered on ensuring students achieve a deep understanding of a subject before progressing. Bergmann begins by delving into the theoretical foundations of mastery learning, citing historical roots and the influential work of educational luminaries like Benjamin Bloom. However, what distinguishes Bergmann’s work is the seamless integration of theory with actionable strategies, making it a valuable resource for educators at all levels.

Practical Examples

A notable feature of the handbook is its plethora of practical examples that illustrate how mastery learning can be applied across subjects and age groups. Bergmann’s examples effectively bridge the gap between theory and practice, providing educators with a diverse array of tools and techniques tailored to their specific challenges. From elementary school mathematics to college-level science, these examples highlight the adaptability and universality of mastery learning principles.

The handbook’s crowning achievement is the hands-on project Bergmann introduces, guiding educators through the creation and implementation of a mastery learning module. This project not only reinforces key concepts but also serves as a catalyst for transformative change in teaching approaches.

Approachable and Engaging

Bergmann’s writing style is accessible and engaging, making the principles of mastery learning easily graspable for educators unfamiliar with the approach. Real-life anecdotes from his own, and other’s, experiences further humanize the content, adding a relatable dimension to the challenges educators face in diverse classrooms. While not specifically, broached, Bergmann’s vision opens up the possibility to extend mastery learning beyond traditional educational settings such as corporate and workforce development environments

As educators delve into Bergmann’s handbook, they find themselves not merely reading about a pedagogical approach but actively participating in a transformative journey toward a more effective and equitable education system. Bergmann’s work inspires optimism about the broader implications of mastery learning, aligning with the recognition that continuous learning is essential in today’s rapidly changing professional world.


In conclusion, “The Mastery Learning Handbook” by Jonathan Bergmann (ASCD, 2023) is a groundbreaking exploration that goes beyond traditional education literature. By equipping educators with knowledge and practical tools, Bergmann carries the torch for Bloom and inspires a collective vision for the future of education—one where every learner has the opportunity to truly master the subjects they study. Educators engaging with this handbook are not only learning about a pedagogical approach but actively participating in a transformative journey toward a more effective and equitable education system.

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