Learning how to learn | Barbara Oakley | TEDxOaklandUniversity

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley is co-teaching one of the world’s largest online classes, “Learning How to Learn”, .
She know firsthand how it feels to struggle with math. Dr. Oakley flunked her way through high school math and science courses, before enlisting in the U.S. Army immediately after graduation. When she saw how her lack of mathematical and technical savvy severely limited her options—both to rise in the military and to explore other careers—she returned to school with a new found determination to re-tool her brain to master the very subjects that had given her so much trouble throughout her entire life.

Barbara Oakley, PhD, PE is a professor of engineering at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Her research focuses on the complex relationship between neuroscience and social behavior, and has been described as “revolutionary” by the Wall Street Journal. Oakley’s books have been praised by many leading researchers and writers, including Harvard’s Steven Pinker and E. O. Wilson, and National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Oates. Her book A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel in Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra), will be published by Tarcher-Penguin on July 31, 2014.

Prior to her academic career, Oakley rose from private to captain in the U.S. Army, during which time she was recognized as a Distinguished Military Scholar. She met her husband, Philip, when she was working at the South Pole Station in Antarctica. Her experiences with well-intentioned altruism were shaped by her work as a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers on the Bering Sea during the early 1980s. Oakley was designated as an NSF New Century Scholar—she is also a recipient of the Oakland University Teaching Excellence Award (2013) and the National Science Foundation’s Frontiers in Engineering New Faculty Fellow Award. Oakley is an elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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20 comments

  1. I just completed her course and is such a life-changing experience. Her teachings are clear, 100% science-based, and fun–pure value. I highly recommend it to everyone, regardless of age and position. However, it’s especially useful for students.

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  3. Anybody can concentrate 25 minutes.
    My brain: she didn’t see me:’)
    I concentrate for just ten minutes

  4. just to say the video is called Learning how to learn but if you dont know how to learn but you need to learn but you dont know how to learn……… how do you learn?

  5. I’m coincidentally doing focus and diffuse mode back and forth when I was studying English. I usually read the material around 30 minutes and then take a rest after that while drinking some coffee and do some browsing. i felt relaxed and it felt really good studying like that. i didn’t know it was one of the good ways for learning. very good.

  6. My K through 12 school years were pretty much the same as Ms. Oakley’s. Again tried math (intro. algebra) at junior college, and failed. Then I got mind-boggling lucky! Transferred to a 4 yr. college, where it was learn math or forget college. In a class where we only needed to show up if we couldn’t figure stuff out on our own, I went from zip to pre-calc. level in algebra in about 4 months!, And it was a “cake-walk!”.. I owed my awesome success to a 5 book programmed instruction beginning algebra series authored by Robert Tetiev, for the Encyclopedia Britannica Educational Corp., produced during the late 1960’s. Would love to find some used copies of that series. But no luck. My math failure in public school had totally undermined my sense of self worth, self esteem, etc..

  7. Awesome, Every WORD she said counts, I finished watching and jumped to start again,😊God bless you!

  8. *People watching this all the very best for your future endeavors.*

  9. I wish she taught all my subjects. She’s such a good speaker and makes learning approachable.

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  12. This woman is amazing and my inspiration.👌👌👌👌😍❤😎😉😁😘😊😉

  13. I’m like I am being the example of diffuse mode….
    Thank you for making me realize, that it is an addiction, and not helping me grow up in my own learning/understanding…
    Content stays as content itself, unless you put your heart to it, to understand, translate and apply where is this to be use, of which we know is necessary in learning.

  14. I graduated top of my class and all of these techniques are the same techniques I used. I would redo homework until I could do them twice correctly then repeat with all homework. My tests would contain the same questions from the homework. Tests become easy this way. Having classmates ask you to explain concepts made me just recall and force me to practice more. I have never met a genius. The barrier to actually learning is entirely emotional (you don’t think you can do it, you don’t see the benefit now, other things are more important). Everyone can do this. The only things I don’t learn are the ones I don’t want to put the effort. The talk was very insightful. I’d like to see one for how to motivate yourself to want to learn something that you don’t want to learn.