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I've really enjoyed several of The Great Courses, so I was particularly disappointed in this one given that I've come to expect so much from them.
Most of the course (about 90%) has to do with categorizing every single nuance of the study of learning and assigning every nuance a vocabulary term that the listener will most likely never hear or use again in their lifetime. Of the remaining 10%, 5% dealt with scientific studies that just made me think, "Wow, it's amazing what some scientists get paid to study."
The remaining 5% that was actually useful information can be summed up as follows:
1. Test yourself frequently in the process of studying. Don't wait to test yourself until you think you know the material. The more frequently you test yourself on whatever you're studying, the more likely you will retain the information. (This was from chapter 12)
2. Test yourself continually, not only on the information you don't know, but also on the information that you believe you've learned. That's because you can actually teach yourself to forget that information by ignoring it in the review process. (This was from chapter 12)
3. Foreign language learning can be greatly enhanced by listening to anything in that language in the background on a routine basis. Basically, when you do this, you are faking immersion, but your brain senses the immersion experience as being real and absorbs more than you think even if you don't understand what's being said. (I've forgotten the chapter for this, but I think it was around chapter 10 or so.)
4. Your brain is always expandable at any time at any age. Forget your IQ, forget the way you think you learn best (by hearing, by seeing, by doing), and forget your past experiences with learning a particular topic. Just do it. It has been proven that the aquisition of a new language, in particular, prevents mental decline as we age. (From chapter 24)
The only people who might find this course fascinating for more than what is listed above are teachers or parents what are interested in educational theory. As far as personal practical application goes, this course leaves a lot to be desired.
134 of 145 people found this review helpful
The first 12 chapters focus on human development from adolescence, at what point we are able to learn x vs. x subject matter. That's skippable for those who want to learn how to learn. The last 12 chapters are useful. The speaker goes over learning styles (anything that works is best), cognitive biases which may inhibit what we learn (confirmation bias), some study strategies (self-testing), what IQ tests for (past education maybe more than innate intelligence), and how learning is effected by getting older (not significant cognitive decline until around age 70). So that second half is good. She is an enjoyable speaker to listen to, but maybe a bit of a deliberately slow talker. I found listening at 3x speed acceptable.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
the lectures are mostly a long list of experiments, contemplations on their results, and some interesting suggestions here and there.
for an inquisitive mind, that needs data as well as thought, this is great.
people who want to be told how to learn better, are looking in the wrong place.
I really liked the format and the super interesting content. it really goes over a lot of stuff in learning theory.
the lecturer is mostly ok, engaging and positive. but, a bit slow for me. also, there are a lot of pauses in the audio - complete silent seconds. as in a second here, a second there. I found this very annoying, and it makes the experience not so good.
BUT! I solved both my problems by listening to lectures at 1.25 speed (as I do for most Great Courses products anyway).
And I already feel like I could listen to this again.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
A difficult and challenging topic well covered and wide range of opinions. For those who are seeking an overview this is very useful. If you are looking for a specific learning need, then search for that.
Highly recommend these lectures on learning. Every student should listen and learn this material. To help each individual with their metacognition. If you understand how your brain functions then you will be better skilled at learning and retaining information.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful