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Learning How to Learn

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This is a wiki for the class on Coursera on Learning How to Learn

The teachers:

  • Dr. Barbara Oakley, Ramón y Cajal Distinguished Scholar of Global Digital Learning, McMaster University
    Professor of Engineering, Industrial & Systems Engineering, Oakland University
  • Dr. Terrence Sejnowski, Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies
    Computational Neurobiology Laboratory

It comprises about 3 hours of video, 3 hours of exercises and 3 hours of bonus material. I spent more time than that on it, but this really fascinates me.

They break it into four weeks:

Week 1 – What is Learning?

This module uses metaphor and analogy to help simplify matters. You will discover several modes of thinking, and how you can use these modes to improve your learning. It will also introduce you to a tool for tackling procrastination, and some practical information about memory, and discover useful insights about learning and sleep.

Week 2 – Chunking

In this module, you learn about chunks. Chunks are compact packages of information that your mind can easily access. They 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 do well on tests. They also explore illusions of competence in learning, the challenges of over-learning, and the advantages of interleaving.

Week 3 – Procrastination and Memory

In this module, they 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. Therefore, learning to handle procrastination is so important. Finally, they talk about some of the best ways to access your brain’s most powerful long-term memory systems.

Week 4 – Renaissance Learning and Unlocking Your Potential

In this module they 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.