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Learn Like a Pro: Science-Based Tools to Become Better at Anything

Do you spend too much time learning, with disappointing results? Do you put off studying because it’s boring and you’re easily distracted? This course is for you! In Learn Like a Pro , beloved teacher of learning Dr. Barbara Oakley, and learning coach extraordinaire Olav Schewe lay out techniques that can help you master any material. Based on easy-to-understand but cutting-edge neuroscientific research, Learn Like a Pro is like no other course on learning—join us today!

Learn Like a Pro: Science-Based Tools to Become Better at Anything

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Estimated 2 weeks
1–2 hours per week
Self-paced
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About this course

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Do you spend too much time learning with disappointing results? Do you find it difficult to remember what you read? Do you put off studying because it’s boring and you’re easily distracted? This course is for you!

Dr. Barbara Oakley—instructor of some of the most popular online courses of all time—and her co-instructor Olav Schewe, educational coach extraordinaire, have struggled in the past with their learning. But they’ve found ways to succeed—Barb has gone from a math-phobic failure in high school to become an engineering professor, and Olav has gone from a mediocre, muddling student to become a standout in his graduate studies at Oxford. In Learn Like a Pro , Olav and Barb lay out techniques based on easy-to-understand but cutting-edge neuroscientific research that can also help you master any material.

Learn Like a Pro is like no other course on learning—it weaves late-breaking insights from neuroscience into Barb and Olav’s previous research and teaching to show unexpected, yet practical, new approaches. You’ll learn why note-taking isn’t always beneficial and why speed-reading techniques don’t work (they speed up only your eyes, not your brain—but there is something better you can do instead). You’ll also learn why the best strategies for learning a new language as an adult are inevitably different from the approaches you used as a child. And guess what? The same techniques you might use to boogie-down with dance or sink a basketball share can, with clever retooling, also help you gradually become an expert coder or master at chess.

Think you aren’t so smart? Learn why your slower way of learning can help you see the faulty assumptions and discover deeper truths that even geniuses can miss. In fact, you’ll learn how applying useful learning techniques to your slow-learning approach can help you to sometimes perform better than mental superstars. Are you already a great learner? Learn Like a Pro will give you useful tools to become even more powerful in your learning. (Pro tip—what you’ve previously been taught about how to learn successfully is often the opposite of what neuroscience tells us about how to learn most successfully.) This inspirational course will also teach you how to boost your motivation and creatively handle frustration—no matter what you’re learning. You’ll find new pathways to triumph, and you’ll have a lot of fun while you’re at it. Join us at Learn Like a Pro and boost your learning success today!

At a glance

  • Language: English

What you'll learn

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In Learn Like a Pro , you’ll learn not only the most effective techniques to help your learning but also why those techniques are effective. Here’s a quick overview of key topics we’ll cover:

  • Retrieval practice is the best technique to help you build strong neural links in long-term memory. In Learn Like a Pro , you’ll discover why.
  • Taking brief, five-minute breaks after approximately 25 minutes of studying can help your brain process new learning, so what you’ve just learned isn’t overwritten. We’ll show you how to take best advantage of those breaks to boost your learning.
  • Learning involves two fundamentally different modes of thinking: focused and diffuse. Focused mode is when you are paying close attention to what you are learning. Diffuse mode is when your mind wanders, as when you are taking a walk or falling asleep. Effective learners know how to alternate between focused and diffuse modes to boost their learning productivity. We’ll give you tips to help you with this process.
  • Having some critical pieces of knowledge memorized, nestled nicely in your long-term memory, can be very helpful. We’ll provide a quick overview of some of the most effective techniques to help with memorization.
  • Neural links in long-term memory are deposited through two different systems: declarative and the procedural. Both systems can learn the same information. It’s just that they allow you to use that information differently. Pro learners know how to learn through both pathways—we’ll show you how to do this.
  • Good habits grow from the procedural system. They help you get on and keep on task without even thinking about it. We’ll help you move away from using effortful self-discipline and toward the development of habits that automatically help you accomplish what you want to accomplish.
  • To increase the tonic dopamine associated with motivation, we’ll show you how to use techniques such as consequence mapping, mental contrasting, and reframing.
  • Phasic dopamine is produced when you experience an unexpected reward. Phasic dopamine doesn’t help so much with motivation, but it helps a lot in allowing neurons to make stronger connections. We’ll show you some of the keys to producing more phasic dopamine.
  • To be a pro learner, you need to have a toolbox of practical tools and know when and how to best use those tools. For this, you need metacognition—a sort of brain outside your brain that thinks about your learning. We’ll show you how to improve your metacognition!

About the instructors

Frequently Asked Questions

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Who is this course for?
All learners.

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