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University of California, San Diego

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

University of California, San Diego via Coursera

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 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: 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

4.9 rating, based on 19,500 reviews

Start your review of Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

  • 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...
  • Jayne McCormack
    310

    Jayne McCormack 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...
  • 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...
  • Panos Gr 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....
  • Fantastic course. No wonder it's so popular. It's thorough, engaging, cleverly challenging and most importantly leaves you longing to keep learning for life. I cannot recommend it enough. As a taste thereof (that will hopefully help you gauge if it's...
  • 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...
  • 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,...
  • Ali Pacheco 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...
  • 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...
  • Gregory J Hamel ( Life Is Study) 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...
  • 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...
  • A course that helps you break down the barriers of learning new topics. To eliminate the "this discipline is not my thing, I should stop trying so hard" ways of thinking, and it helps you become a more efficient person in your exams and study sessions.

    If you want to change the way you study and have better results in exams, this course is your solution.
  • 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...
  • Amy Wallace
    13

    Amy Wallace 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...
  • The most important course for every one who want to increase his learning ability as will as his understanding of the learning process and techniques
  • Anonymous
    This was a great course, and I learned a great deal. We've all learned in school, in our lives, and in our careers, but a lot of the ways we've learned to understand and retain information is wasteful. You end up wasting a significant amount of your...
  • 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...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I discovered this Massive Open Online Course from reading Dr. Barbara Oakley and Terrence Sejnowski's book "Learning How to Learn." I initially was a G.E.D. recipient worked in fast food for quite some time and decided that I wanted to do more with my...
  • This course helped me defeat my greatest enemy; Procrastination. I have had thousands of Google Search to cope up with Procrastination, but nothing worked, the Pomodoro technique explained in this course helped me big time to fight the same. This course...
  • Rufus F Rhea Jr
    1

    Rufus F Rhea Jr completed this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    I rated this course with five stars not because it is perfect but because this course potentially has value for nearly everyone who takes this course. Some learners would rank this course structure and content as easy or very easy. I ranked the course...

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