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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 Deep Teaching Solutions

86,163 ratings

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 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.) A related course by the same instructors is Uncommon Sense Teaching. To join the fully translated Portuguese version of the course, visit: To join the fully translated Spanish version of the course, visit: To join the fully translated Chinese version of the course, visit: To join the fully translated French version of the course, visit :

Top reviews


May 19, 2016

I found this course incredibly useful and practical. It has not only helped me better understand the process of learning but it has also given me valuable tools in how to optimize my learning process.


Mar 13, 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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426 - 450 of 10,000 Reviews for Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

By Антон Р

Apr 5, 2020

This is an amazing MOOC! Although there weren't any "discoveries of the century" for me, and most of the techniques that are covered in this course I suspected to exist or intuitive (kinda) "knew of", this course makes it real easy to see these techniques, use them to your advantage, and as a result - improve your learning and life in general. By using some of the techniques from this course right from the moment I learned them, I moved more easily throughout the course itself, so its pretty much self-solving thing!) You just need to start, and then with every turn of the wheel it gets easier and more interesting. Huge thanks to Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terrence Sejnowsky for creating this MOOC and helping people from around the world to learn how to learn!) Спасибо, Барб и Терри!

By Amy S

Oct 5, 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 9, 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 Roberto C D

Apr 22, 2020

This is really a best course if you are wishing how to learn! I was blocked in many new themes that I was trying to learn and I was giving up on many of them because I really didn't know that I was trying by the wrong method! I'm surprised how most of themes that I'm trying again are flowing well after applying some of techniques learned here. The course is very well structured and the empathy of the authors makes you learn like you were in a class with the best teachers. The bottom of each chapter presents links to videos and texts that worth to explore! I bought the book "A Mind for Numbers" and I have started to read it ... it's great and I'm loving! It's wonderful like the course and also a great review with the pleasure of touching real paper pages. Thank you so much!

By Nathan K

Oct 22, 2020

Wow, what a course. No, this is not an exaggeration, and I'm definitely not sponsored by Terrence Sejnowski, and Barbara Oakley. No, I'm writing this because this course has truly changed my life. Not only in the short term, but clearly in the long term too. I can already see improvements in my university learning with the pomodoro technique, and I already know that I will apply many of the other skills to my learning too. This is the foundation course, the basic introduction course to learning in general. So it's really perfect for anybody who's currently doing learning in any regard whatsoever, be it high school, university, or just personal learning. This course gave me, and will probably give you the most important skills and abilities to aid you in your lifelong learning adventures.

By Lambert K

Aug 26, 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 7, 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 Eliza L S F

Oct 2, 2020

Thank you so much to my Professor Dr. Barbara Oakley for this course I learn to understand myself why I am subconsciously doing those things, such as procrastination. Procrastination is helpful and harmful at the same time if I can not manage it. Through this course Learning How to Learn, I learned how to manage it to minimize it accordingly when I need to procrastinate and when I need to stop to procrastinate and to go back to my task. I wish to take again the course to remind myself of everything I learned and to internalized the course.

Thank you, Dr. Barbara Oakley, I miss your voice and the closing line in every video.

Lastly, may I know how to apply financial aid so that I can have the certificate of this course. I hope to hear from COURSERA Team.

Thank you and God bless everyone.

By Pralhad S S

Sep 10, 2020

To some the course may feel to be too obvious from the title. But make no mistake, you are in for an amazing journey into understanding the neuroscience of how the human brain operates. The course is kept pretty light and is approachable to anyone over the age of 13 (as per my opinion). The sooner you complete this course in your life, the more you will thank yourself in the future.

You will start taking a step back and observe and understand the little cues as you learn a new skill or concept. The instructors have done a great job of condensing the latest scientific research for the human brain, into understandable tidbits for people outside the research community. If you are new on coursera or have been on the platform for a while, this should definitely be the next course you take.

By Bob W

Apr 17, 2020

A lot great inspirational content, pleasant teaching and presentation.

Some of the transcript-language, when read without the video, is not really clear, but vague. Those instances , there are quiet a few, took a bunch of guessing, to figure out what the interviewer or guest meant to say. A L O T of info material . So,if you are one of us- creatives / artists, you my find yourself a bit overwhelmed. Just take it easy, pick the info you think you need and complete the course, it will make you A) think a lot more about your children, students and your own learning habits. And thats a very good thing. I just got married, after 76 years und have a little 6 year old, who needs help with 'Learning how to Learn' . So this is my opportunity to learn more, so I can help her. Thanks Coursera

By Ron Y

Mar 4, 2023

This was such a life changing course. I learned so much from Barbara Oakley. I also highly recommend getting the book that goes with the course. Learning How to Learn not only made me a better learner, but it made me enjoy the entire process of learning so much.

There are a few intuitive concepts that might seem repetitive, especially if you took psychology or neuro-psychology courses. Concepts like Pomodoro Effect (25 minutes of focused learning followed by a 5 minute reward) and memory techniques are topics that follow everyone in college. However, the way the professors present the material is so thorough, that I couldn't help but implement them in my current studies.

This course is a definite must, and I highly recommend it for people who are struggling with challenging coursework.

By Honey S

Oct 5, 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 Karen K

Feb 27, 2022

I have studied many resources on study skills in addition to on other topics taken many classes, workshops, read books, listened to audios, and this is one of the best classes I have ever taken as well as the best, hands down, for "learning how to learn." I have told so many people about it and shared it with my employer. I started using everything right away in my work. If you have just a few moments in your day, listen to it while you're getting dressed (if you don't have time for the fun videos) and you will absorb much. The bonus material is also excellent. My study skills, testing, anxiety around learning/getting wrong, memory, efficiency (and less procrastination!) and more are all SIGNIFICANTLY better. Barbara is a fun, honest and engaging teacher who comes from her heart.

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 Sandeep A

Apr 16, 2020

Hi All,

I have just completed the course "Learning how to learn". It gave me a fresh perspective to look at the process of learning in place of the end product. It is astonishing to get a hold over explanations regarding brain functioning which we looked over carelessly. It gave a solid insight over the reasons of brain activity that we are aware of since ages but didn't knew the technicalities behind it. Particularly, the interviews that Barbara conducted with learners and researchers across the world helped significantly.

The mentors: Terrence Sejnowski and Barbara Oakley were really helpful with their research and imparted techniques. I would like to especially thank Barbara for her voice through which she made learning simple and enjoyable.

Have a happy "Learning how to learn".

By Soumali R

Sep 26, 2020

At first, I would like to say that this course has bought immense changes within me and in my studying process!

Dr. Barbara Oakley Ma'am is a very kind and friendly person/instructor I have ever met any of my online classes. She made me realize that yes even I can also solve the tougher mathematics sums or any tough exercises, readings, which was quite difficult for me previously. And Dr. Terrence Sejnowsky Sir is an awesome instructor. His learning tips were great to achieve, and also for Dr. Oakley Ma'am. Thank you so much, Ma'am and Sir, for this wonderful course and your instructions.

Overall I loved this course and enjoyed it very much. I'll suggest this course strongly if you guys are suffering from how to learn/ achieve difficult things and how to concentrate on studies.

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 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 Pietro S

Apr 19, 2021

I had heard a lot about this course and wanted to take it. A good experience.

It has now become a good point of reference when I need to go back to certain sources, since the topics covered are all based on scientific evidence listed in an exhaustive way.

I recommend it to anyone (student or teacher) who has never studied the theme of "learning how to learn".

The brain does not come to us with an instruction manual, so everyone is called to build their own. Without a minimum of self-study to learn how to learn, a lot of valuable time is wasted studying inefficiently. There are many teachers who do not know how to guide students to improve themselves.

A small course like this, a few hours a week over a month, can make a difference and change your way of teaching and studying.

By Brenda D B

Sep 8, 2020

I really cannot find the words to describe how AMAZING this course is. I'll start by the basics: the topic is quite interesting and the material follows an ideal structure so it is easy to go through the course. Moreover, this course goes far beyond learning for school or university: it offers tools to hugely improve your everyday life! On top of it, the lectures are short, concise and entertaining. The instructors do not only help you lots to understand what they are saying (it's cool how consistent they are by using the very same tips they mention in their lessons), but also they are tremendously charismatic and to me it felt like they really cared about me even if -clearly- they don't even know I exist. I am even sad to have finished the course. Thank you very much!!!

By Satria S

Nov 6, 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 Маргарита К

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!