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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential by McMaster University

4,101 ratings
1,074 reviews

About the Course

Mindshift is designed to help boost your career and life in today’s fast-paced learning environment. Whatever your age or stage, Mindshift teaches you essentials such as how to get the most out of online learning and MOOCs, how to seek out and work with mentors, the secrets to avoiding career ruts (and catastrophes) and general ruts in life, and insights such as the value of selective ignorance over general competence. We’ll provide practical insights from science about how to learn and change effectively even in maturity, and we’ll build on what you already know to take your life’s learning in fantastic new directions. This course is designed to show you how to look at what you’re learning, and your place in what’s unfolding in the society around you, so you can be what you want to be, given the real world constraints that life puts on us all. You’ll see that by using certain mental tools and insights, you can learn and do more—far more—than you might have ever dreamed! This course can be taken independent of, concurrent with, or subsequent to, its companion course, Learning How to Learn. (Mindshift is more career focused, and Learning How to Learn is more learning focused.)...

Top reviews


Feb 12, 2018

I really enjoyed the first course, Learn 2Learn. The female professor is great but the boring old guy should have been kicked out of the course, as he do not provide anything of value for the course.


Jan 18, 2018

Thank you Barbara. It was really enjoyable trip with you in this course. I have found many new learning techniques. Your positive behavior was very encouraging for me to begin a new list of my life!

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1 - 25 of 1,063 Reviews for Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential

By Sébastien L

Mar 06, 2019

This course is a great follow-up to "Learning How to Learn". It is less focused on practical advice and more on "life advice". On the practical side, I found memory tricks presented by Nelson Dellis to be very useful. All the theory behind how procrastination works was also enlightening. I liked very much the interview with entrepreneur Adam Khoo who gave profound advice and served as a great example of someone who can start from nothing and learn to reach the highest level. All the advice given about career was spot on: general competence vs selective ignorance; read, read and read again to keep shining in your field; broaden your passions; get a mentor... Everything is applicable and motivating. Well done!

By Cecile H

Mar 18, 2018

​‎I expected that I could learn something new from this course, but I found that there is just the same things taught in this course that there is in 'MOOC Learning how to learn'. As Prof. Oakley mentioned, you shouldn't learn something you've understood. It's a bad thing called "overlearning" since it would make me think that I can resolve any problem by what this course taught, but it isn't the case.

By Melissa B

May 26, 2017

I really like this teaching duo. I want to take more classes from them and continue learning how to learn. Simple concepts combined with scientific explanations made this a very fun class to learn.

By Marta G

Jun 05, 2017

Great course, motivated me to think of what I want to do, and I actually got an idea just before completing the course, which I am putting into action now! I am motivated to learn more, thank you!

By Dorothy H

Sep 22, 2017

Not much new in this one and a bit too much patting of oneself on the back for the last one. Don't expect from Mindshift what you got from Learning how to Learn. It's just riding the wave in order to sell another book, without much new value added.

But if you would like a selective review, it's nice enough for that.

By Guido B

Sep 03, 2019

This course is very light, it provides some useful tips (and some others on which I don't agree), but no specific tool or technique to apply in learning. The videos about MOOC making may be helpful for those who intend to produce a MOOC (not me), but they are useless for the majority of students. I have done a lot of MOOCs since 2012 on Coursera, and I noticed a tendency to reduce both duration (from 8 or even 12 weeks to 4 or so) and content.

By Mary S A

Apr 04, 2018

This is the first course I take under the topic Mindshift. As a non-native speaker of English I found the course easy to understand. The course has covered many concepts that meant a lot to me, which I took time to analyse and deeply think about and relate to events in my life. I have put serious effort to try to memorize them. Here are some:

- The hiker learning style;

- Getting actively engaged into what I am trying to learn: testing myself is a way, using the new information is another;

- Paradigm Shift;

- Broaden my passion rather than following it;

- Focused attention exercises help to increase focusing abilities;

- Activities during my day should vibrate between mental and physical;

- Plan to fight procrastination by: Increasing the expectancy of success and reward, increasing the value and pleasantness of what I am doing, decreasing impulsiveness and distraction;

- Conceptual understanding + memorizing = solid chunks;

- Put a label (a word) on a feeling to start thinking logically about it, then try to put it in a positive frame;

- Take a decision --> define my goal/goals --> choose people who will help me achieve that;

- The environment surrounding me has a huge influence on me --> psychological safety --> increase serotonin;

- T/п: two legs are more stable than one --> develop new skills: 6 months =~ 6 years: skill development curve is logarithmic not linear;

- Approaches of career shifting: dabble, double life, contrarian;

- Selective ignorance is necessary while developing a new skill;

- Persistence and flexibility are essential in learning anything;

- There are 3 important hormones that play a role in learning process: dopamin which helps learn new skills, serotonin that helps form social bonds and noradrenaline that helps us to avoid danger;

- Learning new things help us form new neurons and synapses and requires getting out of comfort zone;

- Mentors play a huge role in life;

- Reading 20 mins a day help me become smarter and healthier;

- Emotional and cognitive intelligence are equally important;

- For things to change --> I have to change --> my thoughts and capabilities;

- Luck = preparation + opportunity + action;

- When you take action --> you get results: if they are positive then you have succeeded and if they are negative you will learn a lot from the experience --> the worst thing is to do nothing;

- Problems can be seen as opportunities;

- Mindshifting = reevaluating relations in my life: cut negative ones, build new short-term ones to achieve short-term goals, build long-term ones to collaborate and achieve long-term goals;

- Skills that I gain from one field can be used in other fields --> creativity.

I hope this abstract will be helpful.

Good luck!

By Deleted A

Aug 10, 2019

This course is really good. It has taught/reminded me of effective learning techniques and motivated me to adopt a learning lifestyle. The presenters are fantastic in terms of their knowledge and enthusiasm. The duration and content is just right for me.Overall it was one of the best and most enjoyable courses that I've done.

By mashael

Aug 06, 2019

my first MOOC and was very helpful, the instructor is fun and present the material in an easy understandable way. I've also enjoyed the assignments and discussions. hope to see more courses from this instructor in the near future.

By Stalvio N

Jan 18, 2018

Thank you Barbara. It was really enjoyable trip with you in this course. I have found many new learning techniques. Your positive behavior was very encouraging for me to begin a new list of my life!

By Daniel O

Jan 16, 2020

Absolutely fantastic course by all standard. My hidden potentials were really unlocked, I got to understand myself and how best to understand others and help them to unlock their potentials as well


Aug 08, 2019

It's my first MOOC course. Its really awesome that I got to know about this course. And now I have learnt a lot about Mind shift, will surely try to utilize this my life! :)


Aug 03, 2019

A must course for every lifelong learner irrespective of his/er domain!!!

By Nidia V

Aug 05, 2019

Thank you for devising a more flexible and entertaining way to learn!

By 江祖榮

Aug 02, 2019

Very useful and practical

By Deleted A

Jul 02, 2018

In general, this was a fascinating course that debunked many of the beliefs I had about learning. I found Professor Oakley's personal anecdotes about switching careers from languages to engineering to be inspiring, since I'm making the same jump. All of the lectures were very high-level, but there were links to more in-depth research papers in the resources section, which was a nice balance. That being said, I think this course could be reduced to two weeks, instead of four. The lectures started to drag towards the end. Certain segments of Week 4 felt more like advertisements for the course than lectures. Other than that, I'd like to see more interviews with career changers and expert learners. The concepts were interesting, but having practical advice from people who have actually changed their mindset and learning habits would be more beneficial.

By Aleksandar J

Jan 24, 2019

Great course, I feel like there's been a lot of thought about making it, and the ideas are represented in a very clear fashion, in a easily digestible manner. The one thing I would turn down a knotch is animation within videos. The instructors even mention this at one point, that having an instructor look like he/she is about to jump at you should activate the same neural pathways that detect danger, so the goal is to have the learner activated more. To me, this approach was very aggressive at some points and made me feel irritated, hence the -1 star.

By Ricardo

Jun 08, 2018

This course is just fine if you want to spend some relaxed time watching some videos or listening to some general advice on career choice and how to manage your learning process and general life.It's quite easy to pass the assessments and doesn't have much difficulty.I must say, as well, that the teacher Barbara Oakley is pretty nice and that she seems to love what she does and does a great job at presenting the lessons and you feel at ease and very comfortable listening to her, which is always welcome.


Jun 02, 2018

Have the feeling most of this MOOC is a simple repeat of the (great) first MOOC on which it is based, "Learning how to learn". Much less added value, except for the great optional videos from Nelson Dellis

By Max L

Jun 02, 2017

Much worse than "Learning how to learn": there are too many effects in videos with too little actual content. The same ideas repeated again and again and again, until you can't hear them anymore :).

By Norhana A

Mar 24, 2018

Since I've taken the Learning How to Learn course first, I find this course rather repetitive most of the time.

By Albiser T

Jul 05, 2019

Mindshift semble plutôt être une occasion pour ses deux créateurs de refaire un mooc après le succès de "learning to learn" sans rien à redire sur le sujet. Il n'y a que redite ou évidence, jamais de fondements scientifiques comme il pouvait y en avoir sur leur premier MOOC, mais uniquement l'exemple de la vie de madame Oakley illustré par 2-3 autres personnes qui semblent uniquement avoir été choisi pour confirmer ses propos. Très scientifique tout cela... Dr Sejnowski quant à lui est constamment à côté de la plaque et l'on ne comprend pas l'utilité de ses interventions....

Très déçu par ce MOOC qui n'a rien à voir avec le très bon "Learning to Learn", on est plus ici dans du développement personnel à deux balles qui fait insulte à la science.

Je ne saurais même pas dire ce que j'ai pu y apprendre.

By Mohamed N A

Mar 16, 2020

This course is really an eye-opener. It shows you aspects of thinking you never thought of before and guides you to different modes of evaluating your life and moving forward through scientifically proven steps which will eventually lead to your personal development if it was applied correctly by you.

I truly recommend this MOOC for anyone willing to improve his life either personally or professionally or at least want to rearrange his messy life and turn it to a more meaningful one.

One last thing, anyone wants to take this course should keep in mind some critical points:-

first of all, Massive changes don't occur overnight, it takes self-discipline, willpower, and repetition.

secondly, you shouldn't upset yourself if you failed at first as it's very normal

Finally, I ask you not to try to cheat in any way as this won't harm anyone but you and instead try hard to genuinely benefit from this priceless information provided in this course

By jose m c

Sep 30, 2017

Muchas gracias a Barbara y a su equipo, por este segundo gran curso......debo señar que "Aprendiendo a Aprender" ha sido el primer MOOC que he completado y que cambió mis conocimientos, mostrándome que no había limitación alguna para seguir aprendiendo miestras viva (tengo 62 años) y que además, mi calidad de vida, se verá beneficiada importantemente, en la medida que siga aprendiendo. La verdad es que los agradecimientos son pocos y pobres en comparación al cambio que se ha generado en mi, gracias estos cursos..........fui a italia de paseo y pude comunicarme en Italiano, fui a Rusia a ver la copa de confederaciones y pude comunicarme en Ruso, jamás habría imaginado alguna vez que esto podría ocurrir, he realizado varios otros Moocs (Cocina al vacio, confección de juegos vía PC, etc.).

Escribo esta referencia en español, para motivar a los latinoparlantes. Un abrazo e infinitas gracias.

By Mahmoud S D

Nov 14, 2019

MindShift is a very interesting and helpful class. It teaches concepts about how to improve yourself and become motivated about learning. A few key concepts are being taught that will help students shift there focus to a positive outlook on learning and life in general. Some of my misconceptions debunked and widen my understanding of how the learn and retain what we’ve studied. If you are a Slow learner take the class you will learn how it has it advantages. It teaches you how to be an active and continuous learner, and how you will master what you’re learning. What you may see as a disadvantage has advantages and the class teaches how to shift your focus to the advantages. I would recommend this class to anyone who is having difficulty at school or wants to become a better student. If you want to start learning online, this class is a good Launchpad and motivator.