Barbara Oakley, the creator of Learning to Learn, an online course with over a million enrolled students, shares the science of learning quickly, overcoming procrastination, and getting better at practically anything.
Just when I start to think I’m using my time well and getting a lot done in my life, I meet someone like Barbara Oakley.
Barbara is a true polymath. She was a captain in the U.S. Army, a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers, a radio operator in the South Pole, an engineer, university professor, researcher and the author of 8 books.
Oh, and she is also the creator and instructor of Learning to Learn, the most popular Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) ever(!), with over one million enrolled students.
In this fascinating interview, we cover many aspects of learning, including how to make it stick so we remember more and forget less, how to be more efficient so we learn more quickly, and how to remove the barriers that get in the way of effective learning.
Here are a few highlights from our conversation:
- How she changed her brain from hating math and science to loving it so much she now teaches engineering to college students
- What neuroscience can tell us about how to learn more effectively
- The two modes of your brain and how that impacts what and how you learn
- Why backing off can sometimes be the best thing you can do when learning something new
- How to “chunk” your learning so new knowledge is woven into prior knowledge making it easily accessible
- The best ways to develop new patterns of learning in our brains
- How to practice a skill so you can blast through plateaus and improve more quickly
- Her favorite tactic for dealing with procrastination so you can spend more time learning
- The activities she recommends that rapidly increase neural connections like fertilizer on the brain
- Whether memorization has a place in learning anymore, or simply a barrier to true understanding
- The truth about “learning types” and how identifying as a visual or auditory learner might be setting yourself up for failure.
…and a whole lot more.
If you want to be the most efficient learner you can be, and have more fun doing it, you won’t want to miss this discussion.