Wed, 23 Oct 2019

What to learn from the most popular MOOC - 'Learning how to learn'

Posted on Monday, July 9, 2018

From day-to-day schooling to the demands of modern-day careers, everybody needs to keep learning all the time to acquire skills that are relevant, reports Shivangi Mishra

Do you know that learning is the most common desire expressed by people and most of them rely on Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). ‘Learning How to Learn’, created by McMaster University, University of California, San Diego, is the third most popular MOOC globally.

According to online learning platform Coursera, this is the sixth most popular MOOC in India (as of December 2017). In the past one year, the course has witnessed a massive 245% jump in the enrolment rate. The Indian learners are in the age bracket of 18-39 and over 55% of learners are full time employees. The course teaches mental tools that can assist a learner with grasping any subject/concept they want to study, faster and more efficiently.

From day-to-day schooling to the demands of modern-day careers, everybody needs to keep learning all the time.  This course uses latest scientific breakthroughs to provide practical insights into the working of the brain that one can use for better learning, says Barbara Oakley, professor of Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Oakland University, who teaches the course.

“Knowing how your brain works help you to use it to your best advantage. For example, when you think about something you dislike or don’t want to do, it activates pain centres of the brain. This makes your mind shift to other topics and the result is you procrastinate. There are some easy mental tools you can use to help prevent procrastination—these are among the many powerful techniques we teach in the course,” she tells Education Times.

Stressing on the need to have more similar courses, Oakley says that most schools are overwhelmed with only teaching the subject matter and not on the learnability of students. There has been spectacular work done in both cognitive psychology and neuroscience on how to learn effectively. But, most of it has been restricted to the research labs and has not really reached to the common learners.

Other countries where this course is highly popular include the US, China, Brazil, Russia, the UK,  Canada, Mexico, Egypt and France.

According to Jayant Krishna, ED and COO, National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), the enrolment numbers for this course show that there in an ever-changing market dynamics and evolving jobs, appropriate education and upskilling are major necessities.

“Students must not be forced to study only for grades, but must also be encouraged to develop and improve their learnability. Retention of what they learn would certainly help them improve their career, social skills and working ability. It makes sense to acquire good learning skills sooner than later. We should experiment with different ways of learning in students, by using different techniques in teaching, thereby enabling the students to find a pedagogy that suits and interests them; in addition to being relevant,” he said.

 Most Popular  Online Courses in India in 2017

S.No.

Course

University

1

Machine Learning

Stanford University

2

Neural Networks and Deep Learning

deeplearning.ai

3

Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python)

University of Michigan

4

Algorithms, Part I

Princeton University

5

Introduction to Mathematical Thinking

Stanford University

6

Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

University of California, San Diego

7

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies

Princeton University

8

R Programming

Johns Hopkins University

9

Build Your First Android App (Project-Centered Course)

CentraleSupélec

10

Introduction to Data Science in Python

University of Michigan

 

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