And with the right process, you can master any topic. In fact, one of the most popular courses of all-time on e-learning Coursera‘s website doesn’t involve art or data science: it’s about how to learn.
Learning How to Learn has had 2.7 million enrollments, according to the company. It gives students of all ages and educational backgrounds a foundational knowledge of how our brains store information and the related practical tools that help us get the most out of learning — whether through time management techniques or test-taking strategies.
The free and popular Coursera class “Learning How to Learn” makes the process easier and teaches students about the science of learning. You can pay $49 to get a Course Certificate.
The course’s instructors are Dr. Barbara Oakley, a Professor of Engineering, Industrial & Systems Engineering at Oakland University, and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski, the computational neurobiology director at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
Altogether, the course takes about 15 hours to complete, though there’s also bonus material. In exchange for about four short weeks of classes, you’ll gain new insight and tools that can help you complete your degree, make a major career move, or simply enjoy learning for the sake of learning.
Time is the most valuable commodity we have, and if you maximize your learning approach, you can grow faster, feel more comfortable jumping into new topics, or even revisit subjects that gave you trouble in the past only to find them clearer than ever now.
The online classes use video, exercises, and bonus materials to teach. Coursera
How the class is structured
Coursera courses have recorded video lectures and accompanying readings, practice exercises, and short quizzes. This particular course is broken down into four weeks:
Procrastination and Memory
Renaissance Learning and Unlocking Your Potential
Each section is about four hours, so the full course takes about 15 hours to complete in its entirety. There aren’t any set deadlines, though, so you can go at your own pace.
You can also join discussion forums — general discussions, study groups, FAQs, and forums focusing on each of the four weekly lessons in particular — if you want a deeper learning experience. There are also optional readings and videos included in weekly lessons — such as a post from a fellow student on how anxiety, depression, and PTSD may factor into learning.
Unsurprisingly, Learning How to Learn is structured in a way that embodies the very efficient learning techniques it teaches you. For example, you’ll see chunking — or, “compact packages of information that your mind can easily access” in the section that teaches chunking, where students learn what a chunk is and how to form one through accompanying exercises.
Learning How to Learn also has subtitles available in a dozen languages — Chinese, Hebrew, Dutch, Polish, Vietnamese, and others — as well as versions offered completely in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Chinese.
You take quizzes as you complete the course. Coursera
What to expect
The course follows both a conceptual and actionable structure. Students gain a broad knowledge in the science of learning, such as the relationship between procrastination, memory, and sleep. They also get practical advice for learning information efficiently, like the Pomodoro Technique; counter-intuitive test-taking tips; and how to avoid procrastination without exerting tons of willpower.
The course is free to audit (and you’ll have access to all the course materials), but you can pay $49 to earn a certificate of completion to add to your CV or resume or share on LinkedIn. Financial aid for the certificate is also available.