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Back to Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects by McMaster University

4.8
stars
51,650 ratings
14,299 reviews

About the Course

This course gives you easy access to the invaluable learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines. We’ll learn about the how the brain uses two very different learning modes and how it encapsulates (“chunks”) information. We’ll also cover illusions of learning, memory techniques, dealing with procrastination, and best practices shown by research to be most effective in helping you master tough subjects. Using these approaches, no matter what your skill levels in topics you would like to master, you can change your thinking and change your life. If you’re already an expert, this peep under the mental hood will give you ideas for: turbocharging successful learning, including counter-intuitive test-taking tips and insights that will help you make the best use of your time on homework and problem sets. If you’re struggling, you’ll see a structured treasure trove of practical techniques that walk you through what you need to do to get on track. If you’ve ever wanted to become better at anything, this course will help serve as your guide. This course can be taken independent of, concurrent with, or prior to, its companion course, Mindshift. (Learning How to Learn is more learning focused, and Mindshift is more career focused.) To join the fully translated Portuguese version of the course, visit: https://www.coursera.org/learn/aprender To join the fully translated Spanish version of the course, visit: https://www.coursera.org/learn/aprendiendo-a-aprender To join the fully translated Chinese version of the course, visit: https://www.coursera.org/learn/ruhe-xuexi To join the fully translated French version of the course, visit : http://www.coursera/learn/apprendre-comment-apprendre...

Top reviews

ZL

Nov 23, 2015

First MOOC that I can accomplish, even in my busiest days, because I'm motivated to learn the lessons taught in it and I like the teacher and class format (small videos and always repeating concepts).

MC

Oct 29, 2019

I enjoyed this course so much. I learned a lot about how I can become a better learner. This course was very interesting and useful. I have some tools that I can use to optimize my learning potential.

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226 - 250 of 10,000 Reviews for Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

By Nghia N

Dec 04, 2019

I first heard about this course through others learning to program. I finally decided to start it, and I'm very glad I did. Barbara Oakley and Terrence Sejnowski both clearly know what they're talking about and their lessons and information opened my eyes to how to efficiently learn. I will likely have to pour over my notes again and again to make sure I am learning correctly.What I found the most interesting was how sleep rids our brain of metabolic toxins and that there was two modes of thinking: focused and diffused. I believe these will have the most impact in my studies. If anyone is on the fence about taking this course, as long as you are interested in improving then I would suggest taking it. It's free after all!Thank you for making this course, and I'm interested in reading the book as well.Best Regards

By David D

Feb 07, 2019

The course was absolutely brilliant. It opened my eyes to the problems I had recently encountered with making a career change and learning the subject matter as easily I was used to. The course also provided both easy to implement strategies for learning any type of subject matter as well as backing up those recommended strategies with scientific fact and relatable examples from their personal experiences with learning or by sharing stories about accomplished scholars and scientists who experienced failure and self-doubt on their journey to success. Dr. Oakley and Dr. Senjowski presented the material in a very down to earth but fun and professional manner. I would highly recommend this course to anyone and everyone wanting to learn something new or deepen their learning on topics they are already familiar with .

By akash g

Aug 24, 2017

I found myself lucky that i found this course on coursera, attended it and completed it. Its not just a course but more than that. Given by professor Barbara Oakley, this course not only helped me to improve my learning method but also taught me various things, like various techniques to increase my learning power, memory power, etc. Apart from the course curriculum, what i found most informative were those interview sessions with people, professors from different places. You can gain a whole bucket full of information by watching those interviews and going through the supplement material that Prof. Oakley has included in this course.

I will suggest this course to everyone who are having a problem while learning new things. Great Course by Great Professor. Thanks Prof. Oakley for teaching "Learning How to Learn".

By Arifa S

Apr 01, 2016

This course is a brilliant, succinct and scientific illustration of the proverb- " the learning period for human is actually from cradle to grave"!!!!!

I have just completed this amazing course and I highly recommend this course to each and every human being who is willing to learn!!!!!! The most wonderful thing about this course is it makes you confident of the learning journey by familiarizing you with the hiccups of the journey and also the necessary ammunition to overcome those . I, a career banker for 15 years and mother of two, sort of gave up the idea of formal education/online degree mostly due to time constraint. After doing this course, I figured that time is not a constraint- the real constraint was my attitude. I'll remain grateful to Barb, Tery and the whole team forever- I am simply overwhelmed.

By Liuginsa R

Nov 03, 2015

I am fully in love with this course. OMG! If I just would have found this course years ago, I would have saved so much stress and questions about why I am not learning anything from the bunch of text books and articles I read. Now I know I didn't have the right approach and I was just letting information in but it was all lost in the jungle because I wasn't taking the time to form any chunk. Another problems I had, illusions of competence and not taking brakes. Of course, after LH2L, I take brakes and repeat material more frequently to myself. I try to use my diffused mode to recall important information and stick them on my long term memory. Thank you so much to Barabara Oakley for all the interviews to different personalities and for her fresh demeanor while explaining concepts and facts. I just love it!

By Wenjie Z

Sep 15, 2017

I was so surprised that I totally covered the courses independently. finally I finished it by my efforts. actually ,during in the period of learning courses online , I thought I just had a try to learn it , but at last I REALLY kept on learning the courses after everyday's work. I did it .Thanks a million for your high-quality courses which inspired me to challenge myself and build up my own learning style, especially I shared my knowledge ang stories with my students in my class. last but at least learning here online realised my dreams of receiving education in the United States ,Although I never went to the US ,I still learned such amazing courses online of the the US. Tahnks so much for offering chance for the people like me to broaden our horizen,build up our confidence and expland our life !

By Susanne M

Nov 03, 2015

Dear Dr. Oakley, Dr. Sejnowski and the dedicated team in your back, who certainly were part of making this wonderful MOOC possible. As you mentioned repeatedly during the course, learning is a life-long quest and can be one of the most enriching endeavours if one has the right tools to not only know how and where to acquire knowledge but how to make the learning process fun and memorable. The MOOC and the book offer these tools. I have already sent out links - especially to my son, who loves learning but is at the same time a genius in procrastination :) -, to teachers, friends and students and hope that some of them will get inspired by you, the way you have inspired me. I will definitely follow you on Facebook! All the best and once again: Thank you very much for this wonderful learning experience!

By Janet B

Feb 24, 2017

Interesting, engaging and educational! This course is taught in a motivating, fun style that will keep you glued to the screen. Learning How to Learn gives a solid understanding of how our brain retains and recalls information. The videos will help you to beat procrastination, use your time most efficiently when learning new material, and memorize information in different ways. There are lots of super test-taking tips too! Though not required reading, Barbara Oakley's excellent book, "A Mind For Numbers", is a well-written companion for this course. The suggested articles for each week's studies are enlightening and so interesting that you'll read many more than you expected, and come out all the wiser. If want to create a strong foundation for learning new material, this course is a perfect choice.

By Sebastian S

Feb 12, 2019

This course is absolutely fantastic for anyone dealing with learning difficulties, or even trying to find ways to be more efficient at the essential task of learning new things. It tackles the science behind our minds capabilities to retain information. It also focuses on the cognitive and behavioural sides of compelling ourselves to keep learning from the age of 1 to 100. The chapter on procrastination and motivation was extremely useful to me. After decades of struggling with school and career related courses I finally feel that I can recognize the symptoms and correct the negative behaviours that held me back. The video lectures are very informative. Sometimes the subjects are presented with a touch of humour, which helped me remember more then usual. Beware of the Zombies and Vampire bats.

By Amy S

Oct 06, 2019

This course is one of the best, if not THE best, MOOC I've taken so far. Dr. Oakley presented the material in a very thoughtful and clear manner. I understood the material easily because of her approach to teaching. Just as she suggests that learners use analogies or metaphors, for example, as a method to better understand and remember a concept, she also uses these methods to present the course material. These methods allowed me to do very well on all the quizzes (which was difficult for me in the past). I thought I knew a lot about how to learn before taking this course, but I was mistaken and had what the course refers to as "illusions of competency." I now know what to do to be most effective in my future learning endeavors. It was well worth my time and effort to take this course.

By Songly H

Oct 09, 2017

Great course! Dr. Oakley and Dr. Senjnowski are great!

This "Learning How to Learn" course is an eye-opener for me as I am able to apply the techniques from the course to help me overcome my learning challenges, such as procrastination, bad learning habit like not recalling or doing spaced repetition, overlearning, too much focus on a minor detailed concept and wasting so much time. I learned a lot about effective learning techniques, which I have never used or heard of, such as chunking, interleaving, focused mode, diffuse mode, Pomodoro. I am looking forward to applying the knowledge and techniques I learned in this course to help me achieve more and better results in my future learning. Thank you Dr. Oakley and Dr. Senjnowski for brining this insightful and impactful course to Coursera!

By Chee Y

Aug 27, 2018

If you are struggling to learn either because the material is too abundant, too 'difficult' or you are just struggling to learn as efficiently as you would like for some reason, this is the class for you!!!

Thank you, Dr. Barbara Oakly and Dr. Sejnoski!!!

I have now taken and enjoyed several courses on Coursera. Learning how to Learn has been by far the most helpful, enjoyable, and important class. I was absolutely great to explore how our entire body works to help us learn. I took extra time to complete this course because I wanted to be slow and progressively implement the suggested changes. I have experienced a lot of improvement... still working on some of the tricks to fully take advantage of the course and improve to the max.

Absolutely one of the best courses online.. and it's free!

By Big W

Jan 07, 2016

-------- this course should be used as a model for all the other courses. this course tells you what they're going to tell you and then they tell you; then they tell you what they told you. then, of course, they repeat what they told you a little bit later and then a while later, and yet again much later . i'm teasing, slightly. but this course does what they say they're going to do !

they tell you and give you a chance to practice what they told you. then they give you another chance to practice a little while later, and yet again, much later, etc . . .

the subtitles match the speech. the subtitles are correctly spelled. the speech is correctly pronounced. they mix and match the points they're making, interleaving as they go.

this is the way all courses should be . . .

By Honey S

Oct 05, 2018

Excellent course on 'Learning How to Learn". Dr.Barb's presentation style is amazing. The techniques mentioned in this course are really helpful especially the Pomodoro Technique. I just loved it. Got a basic understanding of neuro-scientific perspective of our learning. Optional interview sessions are just the icing on the cake. It's really an opportunity to hear from legend learners and scientists from varying disciplines and geographies. I haven't missed any of those interview sessions. I would say it shouldn't be labelled as 'Optional'. All students of this course should listen to those interviews.

Hats off, Dr.Barb and Dr.Terrence for this wonderful course. Thank you very much for sharing bits of your knowledge for the benefit of us. Waiting to see more courses from this team!!

By Niyazi G

Mar 29, 2018

While nothing you learn in this course seems particularly ground-breaking, being able to hear it in such simple and to the point videos makes all the difference. I felt like I've heard it all before, especially when discussing particular tools like Pomodoro, but this time something finally clicked with me. I think this course should be taught to children so this helpful behaviours can be enforced in them from young age. I'm starting my own journey now with preparations for different certifications in my own field of work, and I'm eager to see how much better can I do with all those tools given to me by this course. Thank you so much for this! I have also scheduled the follow-up course on Mindshift - I will use it to strengthen the already acquired concepts and to build up on them.

By Ana P

Nov 10, 2015

One word ... FANTASTIC! Thank you Learning how to Learn team for your tremendous effort in making this message available to all. You are clearly passionate about empowering learning and also about teaching. This is the first MOOC that I will complete to the end, it it has given me the courage to expand my horizons and learn something new and/or something scary that I never thought I could possibly do - you don't always have to be a 'natural' at something to learn something new. Thank you for showing the world that anyone can be brilliant by implementing some smart, effective, and efficient strategies. As well as applying a bit of grit. Thank you for teaching us how to learn. A great and highly recommended course for absolutely everyone - because we are all life-long learners.

By Tiago F

Jan 13, 2017

That is an outstanding course! I really learned a lot about how to improve my learning and I am putting this knowledge into practice in many other areas of my life. The distinction of focus mode x diffuse mode helps to understand that learning cannot be an inertial action of only doing the same thing all the time. Variation is extremely important! I also enjoyed a lot the taught techniques like the Pomodoro, which can be life changing, together with spaced learning (I'm using Anki, another course's suggestion), retrieving and interleaving.

It also made me deal much better with procrastination! Thank you very much for such an opportunity. I'll take that for the rest of my life and share this knowledge with friends and relatives, to whom I'm going also to reccomend this course!

By Tan H C

Mar 21, 2018

I really like this course and highly evaluate the materials taught by Barb Oakley and Terry Sejnowski. I actually learn a lot of things in the course and I particularly like Pomodoro technique which helps me deal with procrastination very effectively. I also do understand why we should switch our brain between two modes, say focused mode and diffuse mode, in order to be more productive. I really enjoy this course and would like to share this with my students. I am now an assistant professor in math (I used to be very very bad at math) but I even haven't known how to learn new things effectively until I take this awesome course. I strongly believe that many people would like this course and learn a lot from it. Again, thanks Barb and Terry for making such a wonderful course!

By Gokulakannan P

Jan 11, 2018

Exceptional course. It is thoughtfully designed to help each person / persona associate their learning difficulties / challenges (from past and on going experiences) and take the right course of action. Both Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski were brilliant in delivering their thoughts to make this course a very effective one. I completed this course one and a half years back but did not lose its impact yet. There are many additional resources and very useful interviews of many people exceptional in their fields. I would recommend this course for everyone. I have been getting regular weekly updates regarding this field as part of this course association. Great work. I started Mindshift course hoping that it will bring in a lot of benefits and positive feelings.

By Satria S

Nov 06, 2019

I strongly believe that almost everyone will benefit greatly by taking this course. I usually don't bother to leave reviews but the course instructors, Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski, truly deserve credit. I'm just gonna say this... this course will change your life. And I don't say that lightly. I have always thought of myself as a fast and effective learner but even so, this course made me even better so just imagine what it could do to people who think that they are slow learners or who think that they are just not cut out for "difficult" subjects such as Maths and Physics. My deepest gratitude goes to Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski. I wish I could one day meet both of you and thank you personally. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

By Margarita K

Sep 28, 2016

Это мой первый курс, который я прошла на Coursera и я очень надеюсь, что другие курсы будут такими же качественными, интересными и доступными как этот. Почерпнула для себя огромное количество полезной информации не только из теоретических объяснений, но и из интервью. Очень интересно было узнать, что существует такое понятие, как "синдром самозванца", которым я страдаю ( к счастью, не одна и оказывается, есть определенные приемы, как его преодолеть). Очень полезными были советы о том, как писать научные работы и эссе и как научиться задавать вопросы, понять, почему даже в обширных дискуссионных темах вопросы не возникают. Я очень довольна, рекомендую курс всем - и школьникам и студентам и просто всем, кто учит иностранный язык и интересуется саморазвитием. Спасибо!

By Chintan G

Dec 08, 2019

I started taking this course to understand and learn better study techniques for the things I am about to learn going forth. I am a Software Engineer at Google currently & after spending 6 years in my career, I wanted to start re-learning some old concepts and many new things. Being a full-time employee, its necessary to have efficient learning methods at my finger-tips, so I could optimise my work-life-study balance, and this course has definitely provided me with those. Simple things like working a little bit on something daily and using recall over rereading has been super-helpful while even learning new techniques that help me with my daily work. I would definitely recommend this course to every full-time student and anyone who is starting to learn new things.

By Joydip M

Aug 06, 2017

to maintain relevancy and continued success in professional world, one needs to be in an environment of continuous learning today. For many of us who are long removed from their college classrooms, this is easier said than done . Time is restricted, distractions and many and so are responsibilities. This course provides wonderful set of strategies and techniques to maximize and upgrade learning capabilities. From the very basics - like importance of sleep - to more intricate techniques like recall over repetition - it is helping me unlearn several things and learn new. It also fills me with lot of hope that it is possible for everyone to learn, and learn better ! Terry and Barbara do an amazing job and by the end of the course, have become something of a coach !

By Dr. J L

Mar 10, 2019

This course was quite interesting and had a lot of useful ideas. I believe that the techiques taught here would definitely be beneficial for many subjects. I am a physicican and recognize that many of the areas of medicine may require pure memory and often "understanding" is not really part of the learning. But the ideas behind making up crazy sentences to help jog your memory of lists is definitely something that I have used and have found very useful. Although I completed school many years ago, I still refer to some of those "crazy sentences" to jog my memory when necessary. I enjoyed taking this course and I thought the instructors were very good. I wish I could have taken this course many years ago when it could have made medical school a bit easier.