Welcome

I love to bring fresh perspectives into my books by applying knowledge and experience from many different disciplines, as well as from “real world” experiences. Although I’m now a professor of engineering, I’ve also worked in lots of different places and doing very different things: serving as a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers up in the Bering Sea, teaching in China, going from US Army private to Regular Army Captain, and working as a radio operator at the South Pole Station in the Antarctic. (I met my husband there—I had to go to the end of the earth to meet that man!)

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Improve teaching using neuroscience

Uncommon Sense Teaching: Practical Insights in Brain Science to Help Students Learn

A groundbreaking guide to improve teaching based on the latest research in neuroscience, from the bestselling author of A Mind for Numbers.

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Become Better at Anything

Learn Like a Pro

A book for learners of all ages containing the best and most updated advice on learning from neuroscience and cognitive psychology.

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The Book for kids and teens

Learning How to Learn

The bestseller A Mind for Numbers has been revamped in this edition for kids and teens to teach them simple tricks to learn difficult subjects - whether they feel like good students or not. Surprisingly, this book goes deeper in many ways than A Mind for Numbers - even as the powerful illustrations add more fun!

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The Course for Kids and Teens

Learning How To Learn for Youth

Based on the most popular open online course in the world, this course gives you easy access to the learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines. No matter what your current skill level, using these approaches can help you master new topics, change your thinking and improve your life.

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The Book

A Mind For Numbers

"A good teacher will leave you educated. But a great teacher will leave you curious. Well, Barbara Oakley is a great teacher. Not only does she have a mind for numbers, she has a way with words, and she makes every one of them count."

Mike Rowe, Creator and host of Discovery Channel’s "Dirty Jobs" and CEO of mikeroweWORKS
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The Course

Learning How to Learn

The free Coursera – UC San Diego MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) Learning How to Learn, which Barb teaches with Terrence Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute, is the most popular massive open online course in the world, with over 2 million registered students. Learning How to Learn is based on the book A Mind for Numbers—clearly people like this approach!

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The Book

Mindshift

"Following your passion is easy. Finding it is hard. This book is full of examples to help—people who have found their way around roadblocks or just plowed right through them."

Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of ORIGINALS and GIVE AND TAKE
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The Course

Mindshift

The free Coursera – McMaster MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) Mindshift, taught by Barb Oakley and Terrence Sejnowski, is amongst the most popular massive open online courses in the world. Mindshift is designed to help boost your career and life in today’s fast-paced learning environment. Whatever your age or stage, Mindshift teaches you essentials such as how to get the most out of online learning and MOOCs, how to seek out and work with mentors, the secrets to avoiding career ruts (and catastrophes) and general ruts in life, and insights such as the value of selective ignorance over general competence.

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Forthcoming events

Keynote and workshops for Singapore Institute of Management (Dec 3 & 4 US time)

On 12/03/2020 at Webinar for Singapore

Optimize 2020 | You, the Modern Hero (Dec 7-11)

On 12/07/2020 at Los Angeles (Sheraton LAX)

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Harvard, MIT, Dana Alliance Learning & the Brain Online Conference on the “The Science of Teaching in a Pandemic: Improving Student Motivation, Attention, Autonomy, and Agency in an Age of in-School and Online Learning”

On 02/20/2021 at

Cheery Friday Emails

Every Friday I send a "Cheery Friday" email chock full of insights about learning and changing to a million registered learners from the massive open online course ("MOOC") Learning How to Learn. To receive these emails, just click here to register for the course (it's free, and registration takes only a few seconds). You can see all previous "Cheery Friday" emails by following the link below. "See" you this Friday!

Hit Lit!

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners! Hit Lit! Top Books of 2020 for LHTLers! It’s been a wild and crazy 2020. But one thing we can say with certainty is that learning through reading is one of the best ways around to boost your spir…

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You Look Like a Thing and I Love You

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners! Book of the Week You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It’s Making the World a Weirder Place, by Janelle Shane.  Shane is a Colorado-based artificial int…

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