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Online Course

Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

All-Time Top 100

University of California, San Diego via Coursera

(13537)
  • Provider Coursera
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Upcoming
  • Language English
  • Certificate Paid Certificate Available
  • Effort 3-4 hours a week
  • Duration 4 weeks long
  • Learn more about MOOCs

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Overview

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

Syllabus

What is Learning?
-Although living brains are very complex, this module uses metaphor and analogy to help simplify matters. You will discover several fundamentally different modes of thinking, and how you can use these modes to improve your learning. You will also be introduced to a tool for tackling procrastination, be given some practical information about memory, and discover surprisingly useful insights about learning and sleep.

(Please note that this module should only take about an hour--the extra time quoted relates to purely optional activities.)

Chunking
-In this module, we’re going to be talking about chunks. Chunks are compact packages of information that your mind can easily access. We’ll talk about how you can form chunks, how you can use them to improve your understanding and creativity with the material, and how chunks can help you to do better on tests. We’ll also explore illusions of competence in learning, the challenges of overlearning, and the advantages of interleaving.

Procrastination and Memory
-In this module, we talk about two intimately connected ideas—procrastination and memory. Building solid chunks in long term memory--chunks that are easily accessible by your short term memory—takes time. This is why learning to handle procrastination is so important. Finally, we talk about some of the best ways to access your brain’s most powerful long term memory systems.

Renaissance Learning and Unlocking Your Potential
-In this module we’re going to talk more about important ideas and techniques that will enhance your ability to learn. You’ll also discover how to more profitably interact with fellow learners, how to recognize your own strengths, and how to avoid the “imposter syndrome.” Fighter pilots and surgeons use checklists to help them with their critical duties—you can use a similar checklist to help you prepare for tests. Ultimately, you will learn more about the joys of living a life filled with learning!

Taught by

Terrence Sejnowski and Barbara Oakley

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Reviews for Coursera's Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects Based on 13537 reviews

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  • 4 stars 9%
  • 3 stars 1%
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  • 1
Hong X
by Hong completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Before reviewing, I would like to note that I was a straight-A student in school, graduated Magna Cum Laude from university, and have taught myself both Japanese and Chinese. I love learning, hence why I took this course. With that said, this should not be titled "Learning How to Learn", it should...
518 people found
this review helpful
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Jayne M
Jayne completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.
A very useful course covering concepts behind how to learn effectively and efficently. Barbara Oakley is a warm and friendly presenter whose videos make a potentially dull subject fun and enjoyable (with the use of zombies, flying mules, etc). Terrence Sejnowski tends to do one main video a week, detailing more anatomical/medical aspects. I'd recommend it to anyone who is about to undertake some serious studying as it covers techniques such as overcoming procrastination and learning fallacies.

There is no statement of achievement for this course, which has caused quite a bit of upset and negativity on Coursera. If you wish to have a certificate, the only option is the (paid) Signature Track which requires extra assignments to be completed. If you can't afford the fee, Coursera do offer some assistance. Please check their FAQs for details.
187 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
If you're like me, you probably thought that the steps to proper learning were obvious. And in a sense, they are obvious, so you'd be right. Those people who told you to stop procrastinating, start early, and try harder/smarter if you weren't putting in enough effort/reasoning were right. But most of...
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Panos G
by Panos completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.
This was one of the most rewarding courses I have taken. It's also very conveniently the most time-effective one because it teaches you a broad variety of tips and "cheats" for hacking into your own mind and making yourself feel and BE more productive. In barely 4 weeks, and without any technical language...
116 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
The farmer who wishes to maximize the yield from his crops could pursue the strategy of spending all of his working hours in directly maintaining his crops by hand. A superior strategy would be for the farmer to spend time inventing a tractor, a period during which he yields no crops, with the justification...
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
An excellent course, thoroughly worth the time taken to complete. I learned so much about the way our brains work, which gave me a completely new appreciation of the mind. The messages are pretty simple: get a decent sleep, exercise, stop procrastinating, used spaced repitition, and chunk in order...
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Ali P
by Ali completed this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
This is the first real elaborated review I´ve done in my life. That´s the kind of impact this course can produce. I felt like I wanted to express my opinion about it and my gratitude. If you are someone who likes learning or teaching, or need to perform those activities in your everyday life for any...
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Dr. Oakley was fantastic. Sure, the videos are graphically simple, but she has done a great job of visually breaking up sections of her teaching by changing what you see on screen. She uses different combinations of camera angles and pictures to focus (and keep) your attention which helped me mentally...
39 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Learning How to Learn is a wonderful course for any student, education professional or lifelong learner. The course itself is full of useful information and scientific evidence on the process of learning. I highly recommend watching the optional interviews and reading up on some of the optional readings,...
19 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
it's very important and useful course I really benefit from it tasneem completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy. A very useful course covering concepts behind how to learn effectively and efficiently. Barbara Oakley is a warm and friendly...
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
I am on a self-teaching path towards becoming a software engineer with no formal training in college-level math or Computer Science. One of the main frustrations that I was having was my inability to problem-solve effectively or coming up strategies for getting through challenging material. A prime...
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anita A
Anita is taking this course right now, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I am enjoying this course very much. I am interested in the content of the course more than the recognition for the course. I homeschool my children and they are all taking the course as well. Just because Coursera is not offering a free certificate of learning does not mean that I cannot give my students credit for taking the course. I have always been more interested in knowledge than in paper saying I have knowledge, so maybe I am unique in that mindset. I also believe that there is something for everyone in this course from beginners to advanced learners.
49 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Coursera MOOC Course Review: Learning How to Learn Dated: June 2020 Learning can be a struggle for almost all of us. This course has invaluable Ah-Ha moments, one being that retaining an ‘open’ mindset is the wisest life strategy. Whose proverb was it: ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’?...
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Vijayakumar N
by Vijayakumar is taking this course right now, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Hi. This course clearly describes the complex process of how the human brain works while learning. Students get exposed to many new concepts : focused and diffused modes of brain functioning, working memory , short term memory and long term memory, learning techniques like chunking, spaced repetition, recalling in different environments, avoiding tendencies to procrastinate and so on. How the neuromodulators get released in the brain when you learn with motivation and how you can benefit out of that. Anyone can improve his or her learning habits by doing this interesting course. Dr Terrence Sejnowski and Dr Barbara Oakley are both excellent teachers. It is a highly recommended MOOC course.
44 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Gregory S
by Gregory completed this course and found the course difficulty to be very easy.
Learning How to Learn is a 4 lesson self-paced course that summarizes key findings in neuroscience about how we learn. The course touches on brain function, working and long-term memory and various methods for improving learning as well as overcoming hurdles like procrastination. The lecture content...
23 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Sam S
by Sam completed this course.
The course was brilliantly done. From how a person receives input (sees it (visual), hears it (auditory), feels it/tries it/does it-hands-on (kinesthetic), to how a person perceives the input; the course describes in a very understandable way, how to harness the input by effectively using your ‘brain.’...
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Hugo A
by Hugo completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
At the very beginning the course seemed somehow easy and pretty basic. Nonetheless, once that you start understanding the biological reason about how and why we learn, you get the feeling that this course will definitively change your life. And that is exactly what has happened to me. Before this course...
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
José S
José completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
This course is about how to learn more effectively, no matter what you are trying to learn. It is based on fundamental research into the workings of the brain and presents proven methods allowing the brain to work as it is supposed to. Surprisingly, some of quite common approaches to learning like re-reading,...
15 people found
this review helpful
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Abhijith G
Abhijith completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.
Material is very easy. You can watch most of the videos at 1.5x or more.

Nice material to validate techniques that you are following or correct your methodology if you are doing things the ineffective way.

Either way, its sort of a feedback for your learning methods. Of course, feedbacks themselves are subjective but useful for introspection.

If not anything, gives you reassurance that you are not alone when it comes to struggles during learning or solving problems :)
31 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Amy W
Amy completed this course.
Fantastic course for individuals who may not have received education/information throughout their life on good study habits. I personally left high school in early 9th grade due to medical reasons, to never return. Going into college, I was terrified that I wasn't studying effectively, taking notes efficiently,...
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
  • 1

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