The bad news is that most data seem to show that students are not learning nearly so much in college as we would hope - or as we imagine is happening (see, e.g. Another study showing students are not learning). The good news is that learning research shows us how to improve those outcomes. However, the additional bad news is that most academics have no idea what the research says or, more important, what the research says should be done in a real classroom to get better learning.
One of my collegues recently introduced me to an excellent book that seeks to remedy this last bit of bad news. The book, How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching, describes seven crucial principles of learning, the research that supports those principles, and their implications for teaching. Each principle is made more concrete by a set of instructional strategies that can be used for its implementation. The authors of this work are Susan Ambrose, Michael Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha Lovett, and Marie Norman. and the book is based on approaches developed at the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence at Carnegie Mellon.
Learning results from what the student does and thinks and only from what the student does and thinks. The teacher can advance learning only by influencing what the student does to learn.