Barbara Ann Oakley is an American Professor of Engineering at Oakland University and McMaster University whose online courses on learning are some of the most popular MOOC classes in the world. She is involved in multiple areas of research, ranging from STEM education to engineering education, to learning practices [Source: Wikipedia]
Her research focuses on the complex relationship between neuroscience and social behavior and has been described as “revolutionary” by the Wall Street Journal. Barbara Oakley is famous for her work on “Learning How to Learn“.
Book – “Learning How to Learn”
Read reviews of her book “Learning How to Learn” at amazon.com.
She has authored more than 7 books including another bestseller A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)
TEDx Talk – Learning How to Learn
In this TEDx Talk, Barabara talks about her life journey from someone disliking mathematics in school to becoming a professor of engineering. She realized that by “Learning How to Learn”, one can bring required change in the mind to achieve desired results. Some of her core observations are as follows as shared in this TEDx talk.
- During learning, the brain can be in a focussed or diffused/relaxed state and both of these states are equally important for learning. She shares how famous painter Salvador Dali and innovator Thomas Edison used this diffuse state at work
- Overcoming Learning Procrastination with Pomodoro technique
- Interesting observations where sometimes students/learners mistakenly consider their best traits as problems. In the first example, short working memory which is considered a problem might be an indicator of a high level of creativity and getting new ideas all the time. In the second case, slow thinkers might feel inferior to fast thinkers but as fast car race driving experience is different from hikers, similarly, slow thinkers experience learning differently as compared to fast thinkers
- Illusions of Studying Learning where learning long hours may be perceived as good but it may not lead to relevant learning outcome
- She also shared an example of enhancing reading capability by looking at the page and find out what is perceived by the mind
- With the right exercises and regular testing once can develop improve their learning and memory skills
Coursera – Learning How to Learn
Barbara is Co-Educator of “Learning How to Learn” course on Coursera https://www.coursera.org/course/learning with Dr. Terrence Sejnowski. As per Coursera, 2 million learners have taken her courses. Here is her interview on coursera podcast.