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

12,293 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


Apr 30, 2020

I enjoyed this MOOC. It is very well-done and clearly covers the topics of mindshifting along with career advancement. Also--good illustrations and visuals/sounds which assist in the learning process.


Aug 26, 2020

I enjoyed this course very much. I am 64-years-old and this course taught me that you can learn anything new no matter what age you are. I am now broadening my passions and learning is a lot more fun.

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76 - 100 of 3,527 Reviews for Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential

By Tete M

Aug 15, 2017

As someone who is still relatively new to MOOCs, I've to say this is an amazing course that will help you understand and seek new knowledge in a more organized and productive way:

After taking it, I know more about how important it is to acquire new knowledge in other areas, not just in my chosen career, and how useful that knowledge can be for it! In addition, they give great advice on how to change the way you think about your potential, and how important it is to broaden you passions. The advice on how to select new MOOCs to try is also great: with it, I now have a list of requisites that any MOOC I take in the future needs to pass, so I can get the best of online learning.

Overall, a great MOOC full of useful information, great advice, excellent material and amazing teachers!

By shashwata p

Apr 19, 2020

Mindshift, taught by Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terry Sjenowski is suitable for everyone of all ages who aspires to reinvent oneself at some point in their life.They help us inculcate a learning habit and teach us to be accepting of one's own learning pace and modes of learning rather than specifying a hard prescription. The use of cognitive neuroscience explanations are done in a simple, easy to understand way by way of illustrations and analogies.This course is suitable for those trying to jump careers entirely or even for those who want to make a minor shifts in their already existing career. As the course openly professes "Broaden your passions, do not limit them". I recommend this to anyone who is looking to set a firm base to initiate or restart their learning

By Mitali G S

Oct 18, 2021

A wonderful course indeed.....I didn't imagine, the subject can be taught is such a classic way....and basically I never thought that this topic can ever be taught to anyone... Dr. Barbara Oakley, is outstanding....her way of expressing or I would say teaching (she being a teacher) and the examples sited are simply amazing and also make the subject easy to understand. Summing up few of my take aways from this MOOC is active participation, how focused and diffused brain situation helps one, the Pomodoro Technique, selective ignorance, acknowledging emotions and moving forward, passion with broader mindset, being a slow learner, anxious or worrying is absolutely fine and can also get person to the ladder of success; never-the-less a supportive mindshift !

By Iván L P

Apr 12, 2020

Este MOOC no podría haber llegado en mejor momento; Estoy en una etapa de cambios, no solo por el coronavirus, quiero decir a nivel personal, llegué a un punto de inflexión, y muchos de los argumentos y conocimientos que recibí a través de este curso me han motivado a atrapar al toro por el cuernos y lucha para ser mi mejor versión de mí mismo. ¡Gracias por todo!_______________Este MOOC no pudo llegar en mejor momento; me encuentro en una etapa de cambios, ya no solo a causa del coronavirus, sino a nivel personal, llegué a un punto de inflexión, y muchas de las argumentaciones y conocimientos que recibí a través de este curso, me han motivado para coger el toro por los cuernos y luchar por ser mi mejor versión de mi mismo. ¡Muchas gracias por todo!

By Kyle C

Jul 30, 2018

Though similar in many ways to Learning How to Learn, I thought the emphasis in this course on how we can understand and use learning to better ourselves and actually shift our lives and careers was particularly impactful. The key insights, for me, include: knowing that I have to practice things and that conceptual understanding isn't the optimal goal; that one's environment, both people and place, impact learning; that boys have slower verbal advancement on average than girls (that has quite an impact on areas of focus and society); that reframing can actually cause a neurological shift to make things easier to deal with; that learning styles aren't proven; and using a "Pi" approach to learning can be advantageous. Thanks, Barb!

By Fabiola M

Oct 10, 2022

I have appreciated every aspect of this course, from the way the teachers have organized the topics to talk about, the time divisionz the duration of videos, the material provided to the scripts and the presentation of the MOOC into interesting and sometimes funny way. It is a very well planned work. I loved the way Barbara speak, her relaxed tone, her friendly expressions, her passion for sharing. The contents are great, they encorage to always being willing to learn something new and to deepen your knowledge. I encorage everyone to follow the MOOC, is professional and easy to follow, I was pleased to find time to dedicate to it and to participate in the peer review and little tests. Great experience and first MOOC completed!

By Prabhkaran S

Jun 29, 2020

I have personally benefited a lot from this course. I am going through a "Mindshift". I am going through a major transition in my file and I wasn't sure about it. I was getting cold feet, confused, suffered from the Imposter Syndrome, and some other stuff. But this course made me understand how I could tackle these obstacles which were interfering in this transition phase of my life. This course has given me the tools with which I can begin the new chapter in my life with less anxiety than I had before commencing this MOOC. It has taught me about things which happen in my everyday life but I wasn't not fully aware of them. This MOOC gives new perspectives to various concepts, which are all relevant to today's world.

By najat a c

Jan 7, 2021

I really enjoyed this course and MOOC learning. The presentations were suitable and easy to grasp. The short videos were just right in giving enough information one can grasp. I enjoyed the quizzes and assignments as they were helpful in reviewing the material. The pieces of information were valuable and motivational and I felt the shift from the first video. Learning how to shift bad habits (as to speak) into positive ones, using old skills to improve new careers, valuing the advantage of poor memory, and broaden your passions were fantastic ideas plus a lot more. Thank you for delivering such a course and I'm looking for more of them especially about discovering your hidden potential. Perhaps level 2 course! :).

By Terry T

Sep 26, 2019

This is an excellent follow-up course to "Learning How to Learn" in that it augments the principles of the first class through interviews, supportive activities and opportunities to interact with others engaged in the learning endeavor. As someone who is trying to diversify their skills and abilities, the materials presented and thought-provoking points regarding personal struggles that just about everyone is going through or has gone through in their lifetimes. I appreciate the candor and methodologies utilized to get the intended points or learning across to a truly diversified corps of students......Now, what's the follow-up course to this duplex of learning/self evaluation & discovery offerings?


Jul 27, 2020

This must be one of the best MOOC I ever take. Apart of the many insights that I have learned form this MOOC, I would specially credited on how excellent Dr. Barbara Oakley produced and delivered its material , Dr. Terrance depth of neurology science back ground in supporting the mind shift , and McMaster University team video editing that make learning this MOOC never been boring .

Overall, you both have inspired me in many ways to have better understanding in my potential in improving both in my private and career life. Undoubtedly I would very recommend this training for everyone out-there who fee stuck in your life, and striving to find ways to feel and be better.

Thank you very much.

By Nasri B N

Mar 7, 2022

I learned quite a number of new concepts in this course. Some of them include diffuse learning, focus learning as well has learning by having multiple skills (i.e. a talent stack even though you are mediocre in all the skills). I also realize that you can overlearn and that is why you should not push yourself to burnout. I like the memory techniques that I've picked up along during this course such as the 'memory palace'. I believe this is a very good course in understanding the basics of learning well in terms of the principles of learning using well-research university level model that reference back to actual scientific research typing done rather than anecdotes or stories from the author.

By Alexandre G

Apr 14, 2018

This course and Barbara Oakleys previous MOOC (Learning How to Learn) give a great foundation to life long learning, which I see as essential for long term success in life. Many of the little topics you may have come across in previous learning or unintentionally already integrated in the way you learn but overall it's a great concise course, with good enough repetition and visual analogies to help keep the knowledge for extended periods. Is also very reasonable to do this course at double speed and not lose anything. Overall, worth doing the two courses she has made as some of your first MOOCs as the skill and knowledge of learning will compound as you use it in other aspects of life.

By Divya H

May 25, 2020

I had a lot of troubling finding time to complete the online courses that I was taking and I would get distracted and didnt manage to complete any of them. I was looking at tips to overcome this habit and I happened to come across this course. I am really happy that I came across it and this has been the first course that I actually managed to complete. The instructors are really very lively and they provide the content in a really fun way. I was actually addicted to the course and I went through 3 weeks worth material over one weekend. I am guilty of overdoing it but I enjoyed it very much. I would suggest people take this course before they embark on taking up more intensive courses

By HERATH, S A N 국 ‍

Jul 25, 2020

Took this course after taking their previous MOOC on Learning. Some concepts overlapped but more concepts were included in this course, specifically relating to career shifts. This course suited me even more than the previous one being a mid-career learner. Particularly liked the section on overcoming negative feelings and slumps in the journey of mastery learning, as I was going through such a phase myself. The course also challenged the often quoted " follow your passions" slogan by contextualizing it with the available, real world opportunities. It sounded true with what I have experienced in my own life. Thank you Mindshift Team for delivering this informative and enjoyable MOOC!

By Ambiga S

Jun 24, 2020

This Mindshift MOOC has been a wonderful learning experience for me since this is my first ever time signing up for an online course. Prior to this, I always assumed MOOC is often dull because there will be no real life interactions with the instructors or other learners. However, I come out of this course gaining a different perspective. This is just as informational, educational and fun like a real classroom with a positive gain where it has allowed me to work on the materials in my own time as well as reviewing them as often as I wished to. Will definitely recommend this course to my friends and family; especially given that the content was truly beneficial and insightful for me.

By Tom G

Sep 28, 2017

Taking this course has taught me that it's possible to learn something outside my comfort zone. I teach music to kids and I've been thinking about other things I can do for a job, long term. After learning that the things that are tough for us are learned best, I decided to take high school algebra and geometry again, this time online. I'm doing pretty well and now I've added a course in learning how to program in Python. I wouldn't have considered taking the leap into learning math and technology without Barb's example! Further, the people she showcases in the book Mindshift are great examples of how one needn't passively accept the scripts given us. We can blaze new trails.

By Vikas D

Mar 11, 2018

I had greatly appreciated Barb and Terry's previous MOOC - Learning How to Learn - and I equally appreciate this one as well. This one seems to me like the next level of their previous MOOC. Staying in the focused mode all the time is not helpful. Similarly, staying in a single profession for a long time in this rapidly changing world is not helpful either. We need to mindshift or switch to diffuse mode to provide creative fuel for all societies! I have gained a very enriching perspective to life from this course. And I hope to successfully apply all these learnings to my life. Wish me luck! :)

And lastly, a great thanks to both Barb and Terry for such a wonderful MOOC, again!

By Neil N

Apr 24, 2018

This is an excellent course. It was well-presented and it is easy to learn. It is not very demanding and yet can teach you a lot of useful things. You do have to make the time commitment to be an active learner. This course teaches a lot of practical skills that might be useful in the current environment. These include: (a) the importance of persistence and flexibility in learning anything new; (b) the importance of being a life-long learner; (c) challenging conventional myths about learning; (d) developing confidence to learn a new skill; (e) learning simple but effective productivity techniques; (f) learning to reflect on your own learning . I highly recommend this course.

By Viktoryia L

Apr 15, 2020

This MOOC was a great choice to learn. The mail idea for me is "Matching passions with opportunities and broadening, not just following, my passions".

I always thought that I must choose only 1 way in my career, which was marketing. The idea was so strong that I didn't have any hobbies, I considered I couldn't afford them as they took time, and that was the time which I had to spend to improve my career skills. But that was a huge mistake, my life became inanimate. The idea of several passions gave me hope that I can succeed in several paths. And thanks to that idea I'm planning to receive a degree in Psychology as well as start learning Data analysis (Python, SQL, etc.)

By Alexander K

Nov 19, 2019

I would highly recommend this course to take. From my own experience I can say, that while taking this course I learned a lot and got advice on how to succeed in my own career. After finishing this course I know which step to take next. You will learn very useful and ready to use methods to enhance your ability to learn new skills and to find your hidden potential. If you have always wanted to find a mentor and for some reasons haven't done it yet, you will get great advice on how to do this elegantly. This course motivates, inspires and encourages you. Many people have already done a mindshift. You can make a mindshift too and this course will show you how!

By Chowdhury K A

May 21, 2018

May our Lord's Blessings be on you Beloved Professor Oakley and your MOOC team. You have, in essence, invited us inside your home. Learning then became, in that ambiance, a second nature. The facility with which we interacted with the concepts put forth is testament to your insights about teaching. Every single time the "I" came out in your talk, we students were drawn into that realization -- our Professor is one of the most honest individuals we have seen in our lives. Perhaps this is serendipitous, your life and this MOOC concepts dancing to the finest music. Music to our hearts. Please continue to take care of all of us. We are honored to walk with you.

By Tung N

Mar 18, 2020

I joined this course right after finished the " learn how to learn" course. Both of them are great and beneficial for me. It provides many new and useful tools and methodologies to improve my learning and development. It also gives me some breakthroughs and motivates me to explore new activities that I have never experience before. Key concepts are introduced in this course can help me to solve a problem I face during learning effectively and efficiently. The quality of materials is advance and very convenient. We also saw what happened behind the science and understand how the course was prepared. Thanks Barbara for dedication, passionate and humanities

By Daria T

Sep 15, 2021

Mindshift is the first MOOC that I have completed! The learning was super interesting and inspiring. It was my guilty pleasure to watch a couple of videos before starting my working routine.  The course contains lots of useful information about various topics involved in the learning process, such as brain work, memory, psychology and even meditation! This information is not only general knowledge, but it can also be of great use in everyday life. Besides, it gives inspiration, hope and charges you with optimism. I have already recommended it to many of my friends. Many thanks to Barbara Oakley, Terrence Sejnowski, the invited speakers and the community!

By Thanh N L

Jul 2, 2017

I have learnt a lot from this course, just like the new way in thinking and learning effectively. As a result, I get inspiration and motivation to pursue my dream. I love the way how professors sympathize our obstacles and help us feel better by analyzing and interpreting them. We know that we are not that bad and some traits considered as bad could also be our advantages. The discuss forum is an ideal place for us to express and share our stories, feeling and somehow see ourselves in some people from all over the world through their stories. Some bonus videos about memorizing are interesting, too. I really have got mindshift. Thanks a lot.

By Kaylyn D

Jun 5, 2020

I truly enjoyed this course. It showed me other ways of looking at things that I previously thought of as weaknesses. Like learning at a slower pace is not all the time bad because being slower actually helps us learn a material deeper as to when we learn it quickly. Also, the value of poor memory but at the same time, it showed really creative ways of keeping facts in mind. The illustrations and analogies to explanations on how the brain works when learning happens gave insights on how I can help myself learn. The tips on MOOCing were also great. This course gave me great encouragement to embrace learning anything I may be interested in.