How We Learn

Rated 4 out of 5 by from A tale of two courses I'm a bit shocked to see a number of quite negative reviews. I think I understand where they are coming from, but they are seriously overly harsh. I, too, had a problem with Dr. Pasupathi's initial speaking style. She is quite erudite and I found her a pleasure to listen to. (I listened to the audio version, and found her voice to be quite appealing.) However, she does stumble a bit here and there and it's pretty clear that she's relying on notes, not on reading a prepared text. Personally, I find this style much more engaging that reading from a prepared text. I'd much rather than occasional stumble than the stilted stiff presentation that a prepared text almost always engenders. I describe this as a tale of two courses because I thought the second half had much more surprising and seriously educational content than the first half. (So if you're only partway through and are thinking of giving up, I highly recommend you get through at least lecture 13. The discussion of confirmation bias was really eye-opening to me. We all do it, but we all need to be armed by knowledge about it to resist falling into the same trap. I also found lectures 14, 16, 17, and 18 to be excellent and surprising. Many people complained that they didn't learn much about how to improve their own learning. Again, I thought the same thing through lecture 12. But starting with the second half of the course, she really goes into great detail about how we can all improve our own learning strategies. While this is clearly much more of a theory course than a self-improvement one, there is plenty of self-improvement advice here. I know I've come away with a number of strategies to improve my own learning and retention. All in all a very valuable course. I can't give it five stars, because she's not quite that good (at least on audio). But it's a definite four star course with a strong recommendation.
Date published: 2019-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Decoding our encoding This course was informative and useful shop-talk for teachers, and is a fine introduction to how we acquire, process and retain experience. Although, I must admit that I usually have an interest-avoidance of theory in educational-psychology, the instructor was gracious in presenting her lectures without much technically-cryptic vocabulary or many concept-matrices. Some attention was paid to popular psychology, but not enough to trivialize her presentation. Lectures flowed smoothly from one to the next, and ideas were built-upon, and reviewed, as the course progressed. Good to know.
Date published: 2019-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very well explained and engaging This course is well explained and full of important information about leaning theories and many interesting facts. The Professor does a great job at keeping the audience engaged in the learning process and provide many different examples to make the content more digestable.
Date published: 2019-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting Read I enjoyed reading this book, it showed me a different point of view in learning, the author has some wonderful things to teach us, and recommend it to anyone.
Date published: 2019-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How we learn It is very good st giving deep insight into learning .
Date published: 2019-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Learning about learning. Very informative and well-presented course. I enjoyed the lectures.
Date published: 2019-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must for college freshmen I wish I had a course like this BEFORE I entered my freshman year in college. It would have given me much greater insight into what would help me learn and what wouldn't help. Pair with "The Learning Brain" taught by Thad A. Polk, PhD.
Date published: 2019-03-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too verbose, too convoluted, too little merit 'You can't teach an old dog new tricks!' Well, our lecturer puts down THAT fallacy. My objective in buying this set (on DVD) was to discover how to learn more effectively. I found it fascinating that when we retrieve some info, apply it and move on, when we "re-store" that info, we "update" it. I'm still thinking about that! The emphasis on USING stored material in order to maintain it, is so important: this consideration is compelling -- as I have found in learning languages and scripts, and in remembering the dozen or so passwords I need in order to live well in the 21st century ! Again, with this lecture series, recorded in 2011, I lament the apparent death of The Great Courses' lectern or podium. The use of the teleprompter and subsequent obsession with camera angles, causes the lecturer to roam back and forth across the studio set --- off-putting, I find. Btw, I was astounded to hear this lecturer use the term "very unique". The word "unique" is an absolute; there are no degrees of uniqueness. Frankly, although this course has some merit, I had to wade through a great deal of fancy terminology to get to the nub. Even very simple actions & procedures, with which we're all familiar, in this discipline, are presented using convoluted & complex reference terms attached to them. Chapter 10 in particular (Learning Our Way Around) was almost a lesson in obfuscation; I found myself laughing at times. Another reviewer referred to "psychobabble"; I understand that comment. I gather that this discipline absolutely revels in "high-faluting" terminology. An example: "Spatial learning involves aspects of: skill, knowledge, representations of how the world is organized in space." and "Spatial learning tasks --- Orienting: knowing where we are, knowing where desired objects or places are in relation to us in our current position." HUH? "But we can also navigate using spatial learning by integrating sensory and perceptual feedback into our orientation knowledge on a kind of continuously updated basis." HMMM. I think "continually" works better in that sentence, rather than "continuously". But what do I know? Here's a bit of Lecture 11: "Summing up, I want to highlight how learning to tell stories is an area of learning that is tacit or implicit; it's acquired in the service of other activities with repeated practice and assistance from adults and others." OK! Unhappily, at the end of the course, I could not say that I had learned anything of real help to me. I just didn't LEARN how to learn more efficiently, though I did see, to some extent, in a new light, having plowed my way through the verbiage, some of the ways that human beings learn and develop knowledge from babyhood on. Lecture 22 starts by asking "Are there individual differences in the things people find interesting?" Huh? Er, yeah!! And the next question is "Could they affect learning?" There was nothing exciting about this course; the studio setting is brown & drab, and the lecturer wore clothing to match. Lots of pictures of people (too many!) from a stock library were shown throughout ~ that introduced some "colour" and "sparkle". I'm glad I did not buy the audio version: that would have tried my patience. Regrettably, I can't bring myself to recommend Dr. Pasupathi's "How We Learn" lectures.
Date published: 2019-01-27
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How We Learn
Course Trailer
Myths about Learning
1: Myths about Learning

Explore what it means to learn, and consider 10 myths about learning-for example, that learning must be purposeful or that emotions get in the way of learning. None of these or eight other widely held views is accurate, as you discover in depth in this course.

29 min
Why No Single Learning Theory Works
2: Why No Single Learning Theory Works

Take a historical tour of early work on learning, which was deeply influenced by classical conditioning, made famous by Ivan Pavlov. Learn that in the effort to avoid anything that wasn't directly observable, researchers left out key unobservable factors, such as the attitudes of the subjects.

31 min
Learning as Information Processing
3: Learning as Information Processing

Investigate the information processing approach to learning, which holds that learning occurs as people encounter information, connect it to what they already know, and as a result, see changes in their knowledge or ability to do specific tasks.

27 min
Creating Representations
4: Creating Representations

How do you create representations of categories and events in your mind? Explore two aspects of this process. First, you seldom, if ever, learn passively; instead, learning occurs in the context of purposeful action. Second, what you already know changes your experiences in learning.

30 min
Categories, Rules, and Scripts
5: Categories, Rules, and Scripts

Whether you realize it, you acquire new knowledge by organizing experiences into categories, searching for rules within those categories, and establishing scripts-or patterns-that serve as guides for predicting what happens next in an unfamiliar activity or interaction. Find out how in this lecture.

30 min
What Babies Know
6: What Babies Know

Newborns are not a blank slate on which parents can dictate whatever they want their children to know. Instead, babies come prepackaged to develop in certain ways. Investigate how babies manage an overwhelming amount of learning and what this tells us about how grownups learn.

30 min
Learning Your Native Tongue
7: Learning Your Native Tongue

Developing humans progress from no words to about 60,000 words by adulthood, while also mastering complex syntax and grammar. Probe the mechanisms that permit babies to absorb the language they hear around them and make it their native tongue.

28 min
Learning a Second Language
8: Learning a Second Language

If learning a native language occurs almost without effort, why is it so hard to learn a second language, particularly after childhood? Examine this question in light of experiments to teach human language to other species, which provide intriguing clues for the difficulties adult language learners face.

30 min
Learning How to Move
9: Learning How to Move

Focus on four questions central to learning a new motor skill: What should you pay attention to while learning the skill? Can verbalizing the skill help with mastering it? What about learning by watching versus learning by doing? Does imagining the movement provide any benefits?

27 min
Learning Our Way Around
10: Learning Our Way Around

Investigate how you learn to navigate through the world, a skill we share with all other mobile creatures. Find that while spatial learning has a conscious component, we often don't know that we have a cognitive map of a particular place until we have to use it.

28 min
Learning to Tell Stories
11: Learning to Tell Stories

Storytelling is a crucial way that you connect with other people and also learn about yourself. Discover how you learn to narrate your experiences in a way that is ordered in time, communicates the essential details of what happened, and makes clear to the audience why they should listen.

30 min
Learning Approaches in Math and Science
12: Learning Approaches in Math and Science

Math and science require learning both facts about the world and a special process-the "how" used to identify and solve new problems. Survey different approaches to teaching math and science. Some work for building a knowledge of facts, others for instilling an understanding of process.

31 min
Learning as Theory Testing
13: Learning as Theory Testing

Scientists engage in theory testing to evaluate their own work and that of their colleagues. But is it realistic to expect nonscientists to develop similar habits of mind? Examine the problems people have in overcoming natural biases that inhibit scientifically rigorous thinking and learning.

31 min
Integrating Different Domains of Learning
14: Integrating Different Domains of Learning

Survey some common factors that apply to many learning situations, focusing on both intuitive and conscious processes. Tips for learning include spacing your rehearsals, varying the context, drawing on connections to things you know, learning the same way you'll use your learning, and sleeping on it!

29 min
Cognitive Constraints on Learning
15: Cognitive Constraints on Learning

Delve into three constraints on learning: attention, working memory, and executive function. Consider the evidence for the importance of these capacities in supporting or limiting learning. Close by investigating how they can be improved to enhance learning abilities over your lifespan.

30 min
Choosing Learning Strategies
16: Choosing Learning Strategies

Monitoring progress in learning can help develop a more effective learning strategy. Examine research showing how easy it is to misjudge success or lack of success at learning a skill or subject. Then look at approaches that let you increase retrieval and retention of learning.

27 min
Source Knowledge and Learning
17: Source Knowledge and Learning

Often it's important to know not only a piece of information but also its source, especially in today's information-rich culture with many different sources to be weighed for accuracy. Learn how to combat the common tendency to forget the source before anything else.

30 min
The Role of Emotion in Learning
18: The Role of Emotion in Learning

How does it affect learning when you feel happy or sad? Examine the role of emotions in learning, discovering that some moods are better for some tasks. For example, mild anxiety in studying for a test might actually enhance performance by focusing attention.

29 min
Cultivating a Desire to Learn
19: Cultivating a Desire to Learn

Consider how to foster the kinds of motivation that will help support learning rather than undermine it. Rewards such as good grades can backfire by reducing a student's desire to learn about a topic and willingness to persist on that topic. But what is a more effective motivation?

29 min
Intelligence and Learning
20: Intelligence and Learning

Do IQ scores predict the ability to learn? Or are they simply a measure of what has previously been learned, giving a person a leg up on subsequent learning? Use the statistical concept of correlation to shed light on the long-running debate over the nature of intelligence and its role in learning.

30 min
Are Learning Styles Real?
21: Are Learning Styles Real?

An influential contemporary view holds that we're all good at some things but not others, and that we may each differ in the way we like to learn. Probe the arguments for and against these ideas of multiple intelligences and differing learning styles.

28 min
Different People, Different Interests
22: Different People, Different Interests

Trace the origins and growth of the different interests that people naturally have. Interest stimulates the development of initially higher knowledge, which then facilitates further learning and further interest. Then consider an interest-related personality trait that is likely to be shared by the audience for this course.

28 min
Learning across the Lifespan
23: Learning across the Lifespan

Focus on the role of age in learning by reviewing four principles presented earlier in the course and exploring how they relate to different age groups. Close by examining a variety of strategies for preserving information-processing abilities into late life.

29 min
Making the Most of How We Learn
24: Making the Most of How We Learn

Conclude your exploration of how we learn with a look at today's frontiers of learning research. Then revisit the myths of learning from Lecture 1, review optimal approaches to learning, and consider what educators can do to make best use of our new understanding of this vital process.

31 min
Monisha Pasupathi

I became a professor in the first place so that I could spend my life learning; the opportunity to both learn and tell others about the process of learning was irresistible.

ALMA MATER

Stanford University

INSTITUTION

University of Utah

About Monisha Pasupathi

Dr. Monisha Pasupathi is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Utah. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University. She joined the faculty at Utah in 1999 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany. Professor Pasupathi has been honored multiple times for her teaching. She was named Best Psychology Professor by her university's chapter of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology. Psi Chi also awarded her the Outstanding Educator Award and Favorite Professor Award. Professor Pasupathi's research focuses on how people of all ages learn from their experiences, particularly through storytelling. She is coeditor of Narrative Development in Adolescence: Creating the Storied Self, and her work has been published widely in scholarly journals.

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