Learning How to Learn : Our Keynote Speaker

This year’s keynote speaker, Barbara Oakley, didn’t begin learning remedial high school algebra until age 26. Now she’s a professor of engineering, a New York Times best-selling author, and instructor of the world’s largest massive open online course, Learning How to Learn, with nearly two million registered students. How did this happen? She learned how to learn, and she now teaches others these practical insights. In this fun-filled session, you’ll hear true stories of remarkable transformation and discover intriguing insights from science about how you can change and grow, no matter your age or stage of life.

Using metaphor and analogy, which primes neural circuits for difficult topics, Oakley explains how to learn effectively, drawing on her extensive experience as both an engineering professor and a linguist, as well as from key research insights from cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Learn about which techniques help and those that do not, how to use the brain’s different learning modes to their best effect, and about methods like recall, “chunking” and the Pomodoro technique’s approach to beating procrastination. You’ll walk away with practical learning tools based on solid research—and you’ll have fun along the way!

Read an excerpt from Learning How to Learn

Secular Homeschool Convention, Atlanta 2018

Barbara’s Biography

Learning How to Learn

Barbara Oakley, PhD, PE is a Professor of Engineering at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan; the Ramón y Cajal Distinguished Scholar of Global Digital Learning at McMaster University; and Coursera’s inaugural “Innovation Instructor.” Her work focuses on the complex relationship between neuroscience and social behavior. Dr. Oakley’s research has been described as “revolutionary” in the Wall Street Journal—she has published in outlets as varied as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. She has won numerous teaching awards, including the American Society of Engineering Education’s Chester F. Carlson Award for technical innovation in engineering education. Together with Terrence Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute, she co-teaches Coursera – UC San Diego’s “Learning How to Learn,” the world’s most popular massive open online course with over two million registered students. Barb is a New York Times best-selling author—her upcoming book Learning How to Learn is geared to give kids aged ten on up neuroscientific tools to help their learning.

Dr. Oakley has adventured widely through her lifetime. She rose from the ranks of Private to Captain in the U.S. Army, during which time she was recognized as a Distinguished Military Scholar. She also worked as a communications expert at the South Pole Station in Antarctica, and has served as a Russian translator on board Soviet trawlers on the Bering Sea. Dr. Oakley is an elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

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