How We Learn : The Great Courses: Psychology

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Monisha Pasupathi
  • Series: The Great Courses: Psychology
  • 11 hrs and 42 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Learning is a lifelong adventure.
It starts in your mother's womb, accelerates to high speed in infancy and childhood, and continues through every age. Whether you're actively engaged in mastering a new skill, intuitively discovering an unfamiliar place, or even sleeping - which is fundamental to helping you consolidate and hold on to what you've learned - you are truly born to learn around the clock. But few of us know how we learn, which is the key to learning and studying more effectively.
This series of 24 vibrant and accessible lectures has been designed to change that. Designed by an award-winning psychology teacher and expert on how people of all ages master new skills and information, it sheds light on what's going on when we learn and dispels common myths about the subject.
Professor Pasupathi's many examples cover the modern history of research on learning, from behaviorist theory in the early 20th century to the most recent debates about whether IQ can be separated from achievement - and even whether a spectrum of different learning styles and multiple intelligences really exists.
The lectures are also a rich source of readily implemented tips on how to excel in many different learning situations, including mastering difficult material, motivating children to learn, and preserving learning aptitude as we grow older.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not very useful

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.
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- Amazon Customer

Second Half Good, First Half Skip

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.
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- Hendrick Mcdonald

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses