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“Learning is an especially joyous experience when someone competent teaches with passion.”

Learning How to Learn (and Learning How to Learn for Youth) is a neuroscience-based MOOC that shows you how to become better at everything (not just studies) and gives you simple techniques to ace exams. The course is four weeks long, but you can pick up at your own pace.

Professors Barbara Oakley and Terrence Sejnowski begin the course by unboxing the brain and demystifying its workings with fun images and metaphors. You will understand how the brain switches between different modes of thinking to learn, how the different memory systems work, and how to make any fact or skill stick in memory.

The second week teaches you how to gain competency in a subject or skill. You will be introduced to chunks and discover how practice and recall boost proficiency while juggling and experimenting with chunks build flexibility and creativity in a subject.

Ineffectual techniques of revising and reviewing material contribute to an ‘illusion of competence’. The course alerts you to these traps and presents you with superior alternatives. It further teaches you how to train your brain to recognize relevant information and solutions to a problem.

The professors also cover lifestyle choices that will advance you into a better learner. They explain, with evidence, how good sleep consolidates memories and refreshes the brain, why exercise and diet brew sharper minds and how to avoid the pitfall of procrastination. 

The course wraps up with techniques for even better learning, the value of collaborating with your peers, and best practices before and during tests.

At the end of each week, they give you review quizzes, optional additional readings, and informative interviews with acknowledged people in learning. Dr Oakley’s books A Mind for Numbers and Learning How to Learn are good complementary reads too.

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