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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
61,496 ratings
17,311 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.org/learn/apprendre-comment-apprendre...

Top reviews

AA

Sep 14, 2015

It is great learning course brought me clear understanding strong structure of how to learn more effective. I regret only about one, that I didn't passed this course when I started learning at school.

RB

Mar 14, 2018

this course is great! I actually already know some of these Technics and concepts before i went into this course but this course did such a great job of explaining it the now it really sticks with me.

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276 - 300 of 10,000 Reviews for Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

By Brian B

Jan 08, 2019

Definite eye opener.

Think back to junior high (Grade 7 or 8) and think how you approached homework. Look at a problem, look at the solution; "pfft, I got this, this stuff's easy" Honours certificate please!

But then you got to high school and thought, "hmm, I kinda got this stuff, I should be good for the test" and thus proceed to cram your way through every exam.

Marks? Varied, from yeah, not bad to absolutely MEH...

University? More of the same. Your job, a little better, but kind of FEEL meh...

It's ok, you just didn't know how to study properly.

This course will teach you how. And more importantly--at least for me--the why. As you'll see CONTEXT MATTERS A WHOLE BUNCH when you're tyring to remember stuff.

And couldn't do this review without a shout out to Barb (the girl in all the videos). Endearing, encouraging, so knowledgeable. Check out her interviews she's really good.

By Ravinder K

Apr 15, 2020

This is a fantastic course and is appropriate for people of all age groups, who are interested in learning. Learning keeps our brains agile and young and as i have learnt in this course, age really doesn't matter.

I am a senior citizen who has just superannuated from a career spanning nearly 39 years. I am lucky that i got introduced to Coursera and further to this course through my sons. I believe, completion of this course will be a game changer for me, during my second innings. Till now i thought that i had a weak memory and i could not retain things. This is a self-image of the past, and now i know that learning and remembering is a game with a set of rules which can be learnt and mastered,

I have started learning a new language and certain other skill sets getting help from the tips and information i gathered doing this course,

Thanks Dr Barbara Oakley and Dr Terry Sejwonsky

By yanin l

Nov 02, 2015

Wonderful! It was enlightening to watch these incredibly experienced and talented professionals "personally" explain these eyeopening topics in such a simple way in the comfort of my home, or wherever I was. The videos are short enough so I could advance at any time, but are so compelling, once I started, I found it difficult to stop! Plus, they provide visual aids which make the facts so memorable. The optional interviews are very enriching and inspiring, loved them! The fact of having so much additional bibliography is another big plus; you can go deeper in the subject if you desire to. I learned plenty of new techniques to learn better and reinforced some that I used. I will definitely put everything to use! It was a true delight, thank you Barbara, Terrence and everyone! I will hold this inspiring experience within me for a very long time. Best of luck to all of you!

By Ben F

May 29, 2020

This course was extremely helpful to me in so many facets of my life. I wish I had had an opportunity to learn about these learning methods while in high school so that I could have used it in college and even throughout my career. Understanding how neural connections are created and made permanent are important components of learning and retaining all kinds of information we encounter in life. I've even used these tips to improve my golf swing. Repetition makes permanent! In summary, this course provided insight that helped me discover self-destructive mental roadblocks and bad habits that could be addressed once I became aware of these issues. I now understand that I'm not alone with these issues (procrastination, test taking anxiety, the impostor syndrome, etc....). I strongly recommend this course for those on a path of self-discovery and personal improvement.

By OJ

Aug 24, 2015

I thought I would finish this self-paced course in a couple of days, but my 30 second summary of the first week's materials was that learning takes time. So I took the full 4 weeks to complete this course. This course doesn't reveal some new and amazing technique that enabled me to become a walking encyclopedia overnight. In fact I had already heard of all of the techniques. For example, I've tried 30 second summaries before, but I wasn't good at it right away, so I decided the technique didn't work for me. This time I treated the techniques as something I would have to spend time learning how to do, just like any other skill. Because the course became about learning new skills, I really enjoyed it. If I'd just done what I'd always done (take notes and memorize them), then I would have been bored witless, struggled with motivation and procrastination, and dropped out.

By Karen G

Jun 15, 2020

I could not say thank you enough to everyone involved in this course, I am full of gratitude for all the information, technics, method and experiences shown to me ... every video added something new to my brain. I was quite surprise that I was already doing a few of the things mentioned here, I was always told that I was doing it wrong but through this course I learnt that it was perfectly fine, in fact it was the right thing to do so I felt a lot more confident now than ever, I won’t stop here ... this course has encouraged me to carry on with new studies and keep loving to learn, thank you so much Dr Barbara ... the way your talk is so soothing to the brain it felt that it came from you heart .... I am extremely thankful for this opportunity to do this course and I could not be more grateful! Please keep us teaching us as do ... because you do it great.

Karen

By Karthikeyan A R

Oct 28, 2015

I am a continuous learner and love to learn new subjects/areas. I have been doing this during my Bachelors, Masters and while pursuing doctorate (12+ years) in Engineering. Personally, I have got to my own way of learning.

Attending this course, I understood why and how my way of learning works. Also, got insights into how I can improve my learning process. I also used the companion textbook which provided lot of information and real-life examples to support the key ideas in the book. I really enjoyed it.

Thanks a lot Prof. Barbara in bringing this course & book. I understand and appreciate your effort for sharing your own experience in learning subjects that were alien.Thanks for helping most of us understand better our own learning process.

This is my first course in "Coursera" and I am very happy and excited me to chunk more.

Thanks a lot Coursera Team.

By Erikton K

Nov 20, 2015

The best online course I've taken so far. This is not an exaggeration. Throughout the course, I truly felt the importance of the material taught and their applicability in my daily life. I've started using the Pomodoro technique (with the help of an app) when tackling projects at work or want to be productive at home (taking an online course, learning some new skills). I also owe it to this class, and this might be a side effect rather than a direct impact, for bringing my brain to a more relaxed mental state. In other words, the topics about focused/diffuse mode and the discussion of thinking patterns provided a much more clear path not only for approaching tasks, but also escaping from that constant loop that eventually leads to a headache. Without going into more details, this is a wonderful class for anyone, anywhere accessible to take. Happy learning!

By Enya H

Jun 22, 2020

This course was absolutely awesome! Drs. Oakley and Sejnowski introduced the information in such a manner that all learning styles had the opportunity to grasp it. It was informative and interesting; pertinent and thought provoking. The quiz after each module was key in helping to chunk the material presented each module. Each module and quiz included a bit of humor, which made the learning experience enjoyable. I'm definitely going to be aware of how I study and strive for maximum efficiency using the techniques taught here. Additionally, I'm going to buy the suggested books so that I can use them to help my math students to better learn and enjoy the topic. I learned in 4 weeks what I didn't learn during more than 20 years of formal education. Thank you very much Drs. Oakley and Sejnowski!! I rate you both as my favorite professors ever in learning.

By saurabh s

Apr 18, 2020

I signed up for this course with the intention of using it to help me make the most of later courses I'd like to take, but I was shocked at how much of it is applicable in everyday life. I have many projects that I (would have liked) to be working on but had trouble finding the motivation to do so. What I learned here about handling procrastination - the pomodoro technique, focusing on process rather than product, etc - has helped me become both more focused but also helps me allow myself to relax, meaning I'm more ready to take on other projects, positive cycle etc. What I learned about short- and long-term memory, chunking, creating interesting metaphors, and so on, has had a direct impact on my ability to do my job well and commit relevant information to memory quickly. If you are considering taking this course at all, do it. It's quite worth it.

By Bolat

Jul 01, 2019

This was the first only course I've completed ever.

And actually with high grades. The lowest grade I've got is 83%.

I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to improve their learning, or want to try to experience what online course is, as there is a high probability that you will complete it and get a confidence that you can complete something that requires a systematic approach.

One of the reasons that this course is easy to complete and learn, because it's not overloaded by heavy readings or so.

If you decided to take this course, I would recommend to chunk your learning, for example, I did 2 videos each day, so you're not bored or overloaded. Also, it was effective to analyse the script first, make notes and then watch a video of this script.

Good luck!

And huge thanks to Barbara! Looking forward to see you in Kazakhstan this September!

By Paolo V

Jun 16, 2016

Very well prepared material: videos, interviews, further reading, quizzes, tests, with many opportunities to dig deeper into the topic. Professor Barbara Oakley has an easy going, but always professional approach, with a great care for details and a tremendous ability to put them into the big picture and make learning fun and easy! Everything was really well curated and of high quality. Big contributions also come from Dr. Terrence Sejnowski, which talks more about the neurological aspects related to learning. I have learned quite a lot of interesting techniques that I can use to improve the way I study, even if I am at the end of my Ph.D. ! And not only techniques, but also insights on how the brain works and how to relate this to the process of learning. Absolutely suggested to anyone interested in learning deeper and probably faster than before!

By Jose G M

Aug 28, 2019

Dr. Barb Oakley and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski are two inviduals who have come very far in life regarding academia. They are experts in their fields of study as well as two people who pushed their cognitive abilities to a considerable length.

It is with this knowledge that I can surely recommend anyone to take their course Learning How to Learn. They went through the length of making an easy to follow program capable of teaching anyone in any language more about the process of learning and how to become better at it via practice.

Do away with all preconceived notions of not being smart enough or believing someone is simply born gifted. This course will break those ideas in order to expose the truth - that our brain's intelligence and cognitive abilities are much like any other muscle, thus, it can be strengthened via disciplined training and practice.

By Shivam Y

Jul 02, 2017

I loved the course. Until now, I was learning not knowing how things are working, how to retain better. As Dr. Terrence Sejnowski said "Using most efficient machine in the known universe without instruction manual". I learned about different modes of thinking and how to use them efficiently, different types of memory and how to learn better and for long term, Chunking, Illusion of competence, and ways to be more productive and learned about procrastination as a habit to deal with it efficiently, test taking techinques and what not!. If you are reading this review and have not joined the course. I would highly recommend you to enroll in this course, its life changing. Without exaggerating, It is the best course i have ever done. Thank you Dr. Barbara Oakley, Dr. Terrence Sejnowski, LHTL team and coursera for this wonderful learning experience.

By Sourindra B

Apr 09, 2020

Brilliant course, which makes learning how to learn very simple. The step-wise tips shared as so useful and doable. Understanding the physical and mental preparations towards learning are very well explained. How learning takes place and what are those barriers to learning, that need to be avoided, has been explained in detail. Every concept has been explained without any clutter around it. Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski have taken great pain in developing and explaining the various mental tools and their usages, very clearly. I specially liked the parts covering the 'focused and diffused modes', 'chunking', 'memory', 'rebuilding', habits, 'procrastination', the pomodoro technique, 'Einstellung', 'eat your frogs first' etc,

Overall, a program that I should have years ago. Luckily I have now undertaken it and very happy about it.

By G A

Jul 01, 2020

I am a sports coach. I learn by doing, best. This course helped me retain some of the other courses I am learning about sports coaching, accountancy, finance and management. I was struggling to retain all of it because I was unable to use these lessons (Corona lock down).This course showed me how the brain works with analogies. I have a good plan to study and retain what I learn now. It will also help me reinforce and keep information that I need to do different things (stay healthy, cook, etc.).The second category of value provided by this course is how it helps you create a learning process for yourself that will make your learning deeper, help you keep procrastination at bay and teach you to reduce your dependency on motivation and will power for various projects.It's a life skill. Learning how to learn.Grateful that I found this course.

By Dan M

Feb 06, 2018

While procrastinating preparation for the Series 7, I somehow ended up on the signup page for the course. It sounded interesting and since I was already having difficulty studying, I figured I'd give it a try.

It was not at all what I expected... to say that 'I learned how to learn' from this course is an understatement.

Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr.Terry Snejowski (and team) integrate current information, sophisticated concepts, and effective techniques into a simple educational message for a broad audience to understand.

The tools to gain from this class are universally applicable and will always be useful . The time commitment is light, convenient, and flexible- it works with anyone's schedule.

As instructors, Dr. Oakley and Dr. Sejnowski are warm, welcoming, and motivating about their coursework.

There is something for everyone to learn.

By Gwen C

Feb 14, 2018

I highly recommend this informative course for anyone pursuing educational courses or interested in life-long learning. I became interested in this course, and coursera, through reading Dr. Oakley’s Mindshift book. I’ve gained many valuable insights which I’ve started applying to projects at home and work, and plan to put the techniques to work in upcoming MOOCs.

The tips on overcoming procrastination are helping me make significant progress in home organization efforts I have been putting off for months - all while listening to the encouraging course lectures online.

Dr’s Oakley and Sejnowski use gentle humor, fun illustrations, and an engaging manner to communicate valuable tips. I’m looking forward to joining the other courses that they have developed. A big thank you to both of them for helping me jump-start a new journey in learning!

By Rohan J

May 26, 2020

Its a very practical and useful course, and applies to people of all age groups and disciplines. The concepts and techniques are useful to become aware of how our brain learns new material, and how we can adopt effective learning strategies in our lives. Although, I am not in school anymore, I was able to incorporate the teachings in my regular schedule like when reading books, viewing videos or taking other online courses. It is not a very demanding course, which makes it an easy recommendation even if you are squeezed for time. Also, it helps that the instructors keep a very motivating atmosphere and are cognizant of participants in all stages of learning difficulties. As a bonus, there are interviews of experts from various different fields and it is great to get another perspective from them on how they manage to learn effectively.

By Abhinav C

Apr 09, 2020

Great course. I completed it over two years with long breaks in between the sessions. Though I didn't do it deliberately, I think it is better to complete it this way, slowly letting the lessons sink in, instead of finishing in one go. The content delivered is pretty simple but it is something which every person needs to know since improving ourselves is essential for improving our society and these basic lessons can help you learn ANYTHING faster and more thoroughly. The reason this course is so awesome is that deals with a bottleneck in the current generation's personal development process - ie. they know very little about how to learn effectively, and this course deals with it pretty well.Everyone should start this course, and there is a pretty decent chance that with a little drive you'll be able to complete it.Happy learning!

By Gaurab C

May 08, 2020

This course is really great for the people who don't have habit of learning new things. This course definitely hep how to deal with more Scientific, Logical, Art, Literature, Technology type of topic. This helps us to get confidence that we can Learn Anything and Everything, it's matter of time some people do it fast and slow. Understanding the context is more important and foundation come with understanding and using best techniques to learn the new things. Metaphors and analogy should be used while learning, in order to shift from to transfer the items from current working memory to Long Term Memory.

We should periodically recall, attend the test, avoid triggers to procrastination and be prepared as well as relaxed before the Final Test. Better to be excited on learning through processes and automatically will get the result.

By Barton C

Nov 15, 2015

This course is extremely interesting and useful, regardless of age, profession or future prospects.

I already knew about most of what is covered in it regarding the brain, the techniques and everything, but only superficially. This course goes in-depth on a lot of known things about the brain, procrastination, time management etc. and summarizes it very well, in addition to dispelling false knowledge in the same domains.

The course itself is very well structured and comprises regular quizzes and tests that, although seemingly silly, help a lot in memorizing the contents and realizing how true what is explained is.

It also offers a very wide range of additional material, be it video interviews or further reading, for anyone wanting to dig even deeper on one particular subject.

I personally enjoyed it from the beginning to the end :)

By Lai Z

Feb 09, 2020

I spent lots of time studying at school during the past years. But no one teaches me how to learn in a scientific and effective way. I found I did waste lots of time before and previous school life really made me feel frustrated. Before I spent too much time on rereading, making notes and highlighting. And I did not complete the exercise after math classes in time. I did not have recalled the material and crammed the material before the exam. These are all my bad learning habits. This is the most precious and useful course in my life. It is a life-changing course. I found some qualities that make me different. I decided to change some ineffective learning ways and some ways of thinking. I really recommend that everyone should take this before high school or college or from now. I really appreciate these professors. Thank you.

By Vincenzo C

Jan 30, 2020

This course is amazing. It teaches us about many interesting things about how our brain works, how what we experience are related to the mental models we have, and the best ways to make our learning journey easy and fun to experience. I didn't know much of the stuff in this course even though I am a learner, I love to learn and I'm trying to find every day a way to improve myself. Learning how to learn provides us with both practical and biological explanation about how we do effectively learn about a subject. Moreover, I found the "extra" interviews to be very very interesting, I want to thank Barbara Oakley, Terrence Sejnowski, and the whole Leaning how to learn team. You made a great job. I loved the course. Thank you, guys. I hope you and every person taking this course will have a meaningful life full of thriving and joy.

By e s

Mar 31, 2017

I absolutely loved this course--it's fun, a confidence-booster, and it has completely changed the way I study and think about the world around me. I love that it takes concepts that would normally be intimidating, such as 'neural pathways', and 'diffuse and focus modes', and puts into them simple terms, like "pin ball paths" and "zombies". I've learned why certain chemicals in the brain react the way they do, and what stimulates them, and how to better plan and learn the subjects I'm taking. This course also has special tips for those learning science, algebra, and languages, as well as how to better prepare for tests, and how to take breaks efficiently. This course works for all ages and levels; middle school to college, and all subjects, from music theory to chemistry. Do yourself a favor and enroll. You will not regret it.