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

12,304 ratings

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


Oct 30, 2020

Great course! This is a lot more general than Learning about Learning but is also useful nonetheless. I like the focus on keeping positive and being confident in your potential despite our weaknesses.


Aug 13, 2021

A great course for learners to know more about how to learn and give them a fresh perspective about learning and being successful in life. A great sequel after the renowned MOOC Learning How to Learn.

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51 - 75 of 3,529 Reviews for Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential

By Srishti S

May 4, 2020

I was going through a very tough time in my career. I was facing constant failures and had fallen completely in the trap of stress, anxiety and depression. I had lost track of how to learn and make significant changes in my behaviour to alter the faulty outcomes.

Then I came across this course by Barbara and Terry of Mindshift.

It told me step by step that my slow learning abilities can be a boon if utilised strategically. I got to know how my hiker brain be used to understand the concepts in more depth. How changing my career from one field to another empowers me to think creatively and maybe lead to a Paradigm shift. I got to know about various learning techniques like chunking, mastery learning, deliberate practice and a bit of memorisation.

I suffer from major anxiety issue while studying but Barbara told me that stress is inevitable but by changing my perspective, identifying my negative distortions, labeling them and positively re-framing my negative thoughts can go a long way in developing a more realistic and rational outlook.

At last, from Terry I learnt how important it is to read books from not only our domain of work but also of other areas to help us develop a wide-ranging metaphors. This differentiates us from the general public and aids in our career enhancement.

Her explanation of Diffused and Focused thinking is very practical for me to use whenever I think my mind is wandering off way while studying.

There are a few emerging fields which are changing our world at a very fast rate. Deep Learning, Big Data Analytics and artificial intelligence. These fields are causing disruptions at such a great magnitude that it is unavoidable. So it is better to try your hands in them and gain some level of knowledge about it.

I am very thankful to both of them for giving me the confidence that if I keep a positive reframing of my thoughts, approach the challenges with the idea that I have enough potential to do it and even more. The new learning techniques to gain mastery of a subject is making me feel positive that if I use it now, I can change the old outcomes I used to get after my poor studying techniques.

Also, I would like to thank Coursera to offer this wonderful course for free for students like me during this global pandemic. It has completely opened a new horizon for me of learning in the world of MOOCs.

After this course I am going on in my life with a positive mindshift!

By Neetika D

Jun 3, 2020

I thank Dr. Barbara Oakley for creating and teaching this course. She is really a best experienced and effective instructor. She has worked hard to bring all the knowledge/techniques about "how to learn" from all over the world. I can truly see her dedication in preparing this course and in presenting "Mindshift" course. Also, thanks to Dr. Terrence Sejnowski for bringing his knowledge of neuroscience and facts on brain behaviors to this course. Thank you to all other presenters who shared their valuable insights, perspectives, and skills.

This course has cleared my misconceptions about how to learn like; memorization is ok if you understand the concept, active learning by living the subject, reason for learning forever, passions and hobbies can be broadened, and many more.

I was always passionate about learning, but hesitated, thinking it's too late and what's the use. I tried several time before but gave up every time. Now, because of this course my mind has really shifted with greater reason and confidence that I need to learn, I can learn, and I know it how!

Thank you!

By Dr.T.Senthil

Aug 17, 2020

This Course is definitely an important course for all learners irrespective of the boundaries like nation ,language,culture ,age and academic accomplishments.The learner can be graduate or not and no prerequisite is needed to understand the concepts introduced in this course. The author Dr.Barbara Oakley explained the complex concepts with simple understandable manner with interactive lecture materials. The learners definitely keep the concepts and implement in day to day life ,introduced by the Dr.Barbara Oakley. She can be the virtual mentor for all the participants of the Mindshift course,guiding in the planning of their career goals. The another author Dr.Terrence Sejnowski also introduces basic concepts about neuro science in learning style that entirely new to the participants. I thank the authors for presenting very wonderful and deep thinkable course through Coursera MOOC platform. Definitely this course will have impact in the participants for becoming good learner and good reader also.Thanks

By Jayabrata D

Apr 27, 2020

In week 1 of this course, I was hoping to overcome certain challenges such as learning different subjects other than my field of specialization. Ways to Cultivate a growth mindset and becoming a lifelong learner the most important things I wanted to get through this course. And after finishing this course I can confidently say that this course has offered me plenty of valuable suggestions and ideas to acquire what I wanted. One of the thongs I found astonishing is the advice 'Don't just follow your passion, broaden your passion'. I think this is a pretty valuable suggestion in today's era. Learning multiple skills is an excellent idea. This course has taught me to do that. The effective approaches to learn somethings faster and better are something this course has offered wonderfully. I have gained a lot and have put those learnings in my life. I have become a better learner after this course. Overall, I had an amazing experience in this course and this has left an impression in my life.

By Amirabbas

Apr 25, 2020

That was awesome. It can be a turning point in life for the learner. It is highly recommended to take this course. You can learn how to change your mindset in various or catastrophic situations effectively. Besides, it will help you how to take advantage of the other hidden potentials that everyone might have. The lecturers were completely professional and they can convey their meaning easily. In addition, this course provides some other techniques or facts, such as focused and diffused mode of the brain, to guide you to do your best in encountering difficult issues.

As a result, by taking all the aforementioned reasons into account, I do believe that one should become familiar with the presented concepts in this MOOC. It is worth mentioning that this course does not take a lot of time to complete. Additionally. the employed approaches to present the materials are so appealing. I wish the best for the lecturers and hope to learn more things from them in new MOOCs.

By Souradip P

Mar 13, 2022

This course(MOOC) was a good one. It provided some in-depth understanding about effective learning, second skilling, growth mindset. It taught me about the passion trap and how we shouldn't just blindly follow our passion. Changing the environment is also important for changing the mindset. Our thinking is divided into two types--- Focused mode and diffused mode. Focused mode plants the seed of learning while diffuse mode acts as the fertilizer for the soil of learning. It also taught me how a learning mindset makes us healthy both at mental and physical level. MOOCS are great way to pursue life long learning and reading books 20 min a day makes one the smartest person in the room. It was my first MOOC and the best MOOC to me. All thanks to the creators Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski. This MOOC is for everyone who wants to learn, change and adapt new ways of thinking related to career, personal growth and self improvement.

By Rufus F R j

Jul 2, 2020

If you want to learn something that may very well benefit you and your life, take this course. There is a good chance that this course will cut across all aspects of your life in a beneficial way. The numbers linked to this course speak for themselves because people from around the world and of all backgrounds and stripes take this course. Read the reviews! Learners like this course and some learners love this course because the course has value; and it may transform how you think and live. That is called a Mindshift! Take this course and the companion course: "Learning How To Learn," because your life may never be the same and may only get better. I am forever grateful to the course instructors, MCMaster University and Coursera for the transformative state that has taken place within my mind and my life as a result of the knowledge that I acquired from taking "Mindshift" and "Learning How to Learn" courses. Thank you.

By Richard L

Aug 3, 2021

This class was truly interesting in understanding how we learn, and to use this to improve our learning. I think we take for granted that we learn because of our teachers and parents, and that might be true as you move from middle school to high school, but what about post-college, mid-career? That's where I found myself after working at a job for 7 years and then not working there anymore, I needed change and sought initially to take a programming class when I saw this class in my search results. This is the meta of learning something new and I'm so glad I started with this so that I can be cognizant of what studies show to be an effective way of learning. And how applying/practicing this recently read or watched content is the only way to save these mental chunks for longer term usage. Thank you so much to Barbara and Terrence for making this Mooc (in Barbara's basement) with the care and attention they put into it.

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.


Jun 25, 2021

I have taken other courses in Coursera but I felt this is" best course". I didn't get bored while listening to the lecture, I enjoyed listening to the classes.

What I learnt from this course is 1st thing: Whether we are slow or fast learner everyone have their potential to succeed. We have find our hidden potential . We have to change ourselves first, to make things change . We have potential to achieve something in our life. We have to set a goal, and plan strategy to achieve in our Carrier. We have to motivate ourselves every single day when we don't feel motivated.

2nd thing: I changed myself, I thought I have to take action towards the opportunities , it's okay if I fail at the 1st attempt, at least I learned something from it.  Sometimes our greatest insight comes from our failures, not from our accomplishments. I found this course useful. I would recommend to anybody to for it.

By Susan F

Sep 14, 2020

I was researching courses I could use for professional development and this one called to me. I advise students at a community college and was looking for ways to help me help them be more successful. I loved that the course incorporated time management strategies with study skills under the umbrella of neuroscience and made it fun.

I actually used the information in the Mindshift MOOC myself. I like math, but it is not my strength and I started taking an online class which was very intimidating, but I tackled it and didn't let the "failures" get in the way of the progress. I reflected on them and reviewed the lessons until I had adequate success and moved on. No, I will not become a mathematician, but my math competency improved along with my confidence. I'm not 18-years-old and have had plenty of success in other areas of my life, so I know this method works for all ages.

By Joneyd N R D

May 23, 2020

I cannot say how grateful I am by discovering this course, or MOOC as people call it. It instantly changed my way of thinking. Not only how I process the facts or make my daily decisions. I now do not feel the regret that I had for the past. I always thought it was a bit waste, which in fact was only an experience (maybe a bad one, but still...). I already recommended this MOOC to my friends and family, and some of them started taking it. I decided to finally commit to my long overdue career switch and I feel like I have more hope than ever before. Another thing that I started on a daily basis is that I label my feelings, which I learned in this MOOC. Being mad, frustrated, happy... I can now experience and give a better meaning to moods and mood shifts. Thank you for making this MOOC and thanks to Coursera for making it free in these difficult and uncertain times.

By mahmoud 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.

By zee d

Apr 24, 2020

I came across Baraba Oakley through her TED talk at a time when I was looking into the mechanics of learning. There has been a critique that this course does not provide deeper insight into learning methods. Most people, let me go out on a limb that and say that at least 85-90% people are not introduced to techniques and the main purpose of learning during our school and university years ( especially in Asian societies where cramming is the name of the game). This course provides an easy introduction toa) the concept of what is a mindsetb) and the different individual and societal factors that shape it and how it can be changed.I do agree that at least a single video at the end of each week or perhaps 2, looking at or providing references to an in-depth study of the topics discussed. So yes, a pretty good starting point for beginners to understand who we learn.

By Carlos C

Nov 8, 2021

This is my second MOOC from professors Barb Oakley and Terry Sejnowski and their fun, focused style keeps content that can go deep and dense very quickly as an enjoyable and encouraging experience. Tests are made to reinforce concepts and ideas explained in the lectures and not as filters to weed out "bad learners".

The additional resources (e.g. memory tips from Nelson Dellis) enhance the course experience and give something concrete to practice learning a new, valuable skill. The last section of the training felt more of a reflection on how learning can/will change with new technologies and this is good food for thought but I failed to see the link with the material previously revised. Overall, I very much recommend this training as a first step to get into MOOC learning mode and as the first course to take before "Learning How to Learn", from the same team.

By Tania S

May 27, 2020

Mindshift, it's not just a title but the Mooc has actually made it happen, For other readers out there, pls take this MOOC you can thank me later,We are so accustomed to being superficially knowledgeable about our selves and how our mind works that we tend to ignore the small facets that make us who we are, how we think, and what we feel. This MOOC gives you a detailed but very layman understanding of these small facets that actually make up the complex reasoning in our minds......I have never felt a Wow, feeling for any other learning experience before this ......I have a great benchmark set for Mooc Learning and trust me, no one can exceed this Mooc in Visual teaching.Barbara Oakley and Terrence Sejnowski have actually taken the efforts to not only educate us but also uplift and enhance our lives and prepare us for the everchanging future as great mentors

By Deleted A

May 26, 2020

I've found this to be a great class. The teachers were very humorous, and taught the lessons in a very digestible manner–meaning they were able to explain it clearly and even dumb it down to new learners like me.

It also helps that they utilized a lot of photos and analogies in their lessons, because then it's easier for me to relate it to my life, and see how it can be relevant to me. Moreover, as a passionate learner, I really appreciate how they were able to change my perspective on how I'm learning using research & mental tricks. I'm always hard on myself when I'm learning something new, so it's great to have a new perspective & a new approach that I can apply in my future MOOCs.

Truly recommend this MOOC to all passionate leaners, no matter what field you're in. It's easy to understand, quick, and best of all not boring at all!

By Carol N

Jul 17, 2020

This course has helped me to realize that as a human being I have the ability to learn at any age, to uncover my hidden potentials and that I have the ability to do whatever I set my mind to do no matter my intelligence level. In fact, the fact that I am a slow learner is, in some way, to my advantage. It enables me to be an even better learner and be more creative. Taking this MOOC has emboldened and helped me to gain confidence in my ability to learning well. I now understand the need to be a constant learner due to the rapid changes taking place around us. Thanks to this course, I am in route to becoming addicted to learning, weather it be by regularly taking well designed MOOCS or reading a book for at least 20 minutes per day. I am confident that the best is yet to come in both my professional and personal life.

By Muhammad A

Apr 22, 2020

Very well arranged course for making a true mindshift in your self to bring the best of you in front of you.

I have learnt so many things specially type of minds and every category has its own benefits. So we need to have a brain mindset which help you to tackle every situation in life.

One more important thing is that environment has played a vital role in your learning whatever you are trying to learn online or through books etc you should have consider your environment first which should be either helping your learning or distracting your learning.

Added further, try to learn something new which is irrelevant to your life style and profession and this will certainly broadup your mindset .

Every thing what you learn is important despite the fact whether is important or not.

All the best for the learner's.

Happy learning.

By D R k

Jun 25, 2020

This is my first online course which i take under the topic mindshift. Both Barbara Oakley and Terry Sejnowski are excellent in explaining the course material with fun,humour and metaphor which makes this course so much interesting. I found the course easy to understand. The information,strategies and techniques provided in this course are so much useful and helpful in daily life while reading,learning and doing so many different things. This course gives me new direction of thinking and encouraged me to learn about something different other than my profession.This course provides good and impressive methods to improve learning and increased my interest in online learning.I really enjoyed this course.So much thanks to this course , the course instructors Barbara Oakley & Terry Sejnowski and the mindshift team.

By Yin F

Nov 30, 2020

Learning this course shifted my mind as I CHANGEED and built several mindsets.

1. It broadened my horizon , enabled my reaching out to new knowledge: cognitive learning related topics, neuro science, brain parts, the activation of the stress system, intelligence of emotion, mental tricks, mathematical proficiency, Procedural Influence VS conceptual understanding

2. It taught me how to transfer some seemingly negative feelings - imposter, poor memory, Bad traits, Hobby and brain, learning type

3. It gave me fresh momentum on taking actions to do something new: say, to do a MOOC, learn editing, as personally I like being with kids, I like public speaking, I like visualize/ sketch to simplify difficult knowledge. Why not try? I will definitely be somewhat academia, silicon valley, and Hollywood!!

By L.Prithviraj S

Jul 19, 2021

Often we have come across the line, "learning is the only constant" but how often do we talk about the true essence of learning? What impact does learning new things have on us? Is it important to learn what others are learning or the way others are learning it? I had all these questions in my mind when I started "Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential". As the course unraveled itself, I was opened up to some amazing insights about career and life enhancements in today's dynamic learning environment. To whoever is looking at "Learning how to Learn" this is a very powerful & splendidly put-together MOOC by Barbara Oakley. A quote that'll be stuck with me, by Daniel Kahneman “Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it”

By Kenneth A L

Feb 12, 2020

I cannot thank the Professors in this course for their efforts. I have terminal cancer and it make life a bit difficult at times but I found this course inspirational. I am trying to learn the maths I should have learned but decided not to. There is so much to be fascinated by this world if we open our eyes. And The Professors have opened my eyes. A reluctance to try the methods suggested had been replaced when I used them and found that they really did work - I have always been sceptical. I have been told that I need to exercise if I am to have any chance at stopping the progression of this illness. And it seems that exercise is vitally important no matter what we do be it fighting an illness or learning new things. So I will try to exercise! Well done on such an insightful and motivating course.

By Sanjib S

Apr 16, 2020

Everyone interested in learning, career, career progression and job/career change, learning how to best learn and make an impact should take this course. This course has broken many myths and preconceived notion that I had. I used to think that my graduation in Physics had nothing to do with my masters of computer science and thought that I wasted a couple of my career years. But thanks to Barb and Terry, I am able to come out of that. As is rightly said in many instances, your previous background, even when seemingly unrelated, can prove to be a surprising enhancement to your job or studies.

Learning through life is another take away and being able to read more than others make all the difference. I wish Barb and Terry surprise us with many such MOOCs in future as well. All the best.

By Susan M M

Jul 27, 2017

This is one of the best courses I have taken at Coursera. I would recommend this for anyone considering higher education in any area. The content is relevant, useful, and creative - I love out of the box views. The presentation is lively and makes learning easy and fun. Bravo... I will take any course taught by Barbara Oakley - even engineering (I have an MA in Psychology). I have taken the course on Learning and have read all the published works of Oakley that were at my library at the time. (Mindshift had not yet been published.) I found a good deal of the content being relatable to resilience and grit and positive psychology. I bought the book, Mindshift, and i am deep in reading now. I feel blessed that this material and this thinker is available online. Thank you Coursera.