When faced with a large amount of information to learn, one effective way to facilitate long-term retention is to practice retrieving the information during learning. That is, instead of thinking about retrieval as a metric to gauge learning, we can (and should) use it as a tool to achieve learning. I will review evidence from the psychology lab, the classroom, and the MRI scanner regarding the efficacy of this technique in facilitating learning. I will then turn to the phenomenon of individual differences. That is, even within a population of healthy young adults, some people are more facile learners than others. Can we characterize this ability? What might a focused study of this individual difference tell us about learning abilities and how they might be enhanced?