Cheery Friday greetings from Learning How to Learn! May 6, 2016

10th January 2017

Cheery Friday greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Dramatic changes in the textbook industry, and taking Learning How to Learn, helps an open-minded learner to retool his career

Learning How to Learner Tom Willkens writes:

“At twenty-eight years old, I felt trapped in my publishing career, both intellectually and professionally stagnant—and my quant skills had seriously degenerated. After my father sent me a link to Learning How to Learn, I inhaled the information and self-experimented to rebuild my skills from the ground up. One year later, after acing my GREs, I’m now enrolled in a special Master’s in Computer Science program at the Brandeis University Graduate School.

“My goal is to enter the field of adaptive learning software. Part of my first career as a freelancer was spent designing tests for a major textbook publisher, and they’re now switching up their whole business model. Everything is in a state of total flux, and it’s pretty exciting! You might have already seen it, but this article, ‘Artificially intelligent software is replacing the textbook—and reshaping American education’ gives a good overview.”

(Incidentally, if you’re looking for a knowledgeable expert who is keenly interested in every aspect of adaptive learning software, it would be a good idea to reach out to Tom Willkens.)

Our top-choice textbook to help improve retention in college

Speaking of the textbook industry, our top choice textbook for for university instructors and administrators who are trying to improve retention while empowering students is On Course: Strategies for Creating Success in College and in Life, by Skip Downing. Hands down, it doesn’t get better than Skip’s book, which is heading into its third decade of service to higher education (the 8th edition has just come out). As far as we can determine, On Course is the #1 student success textbook in the world, and for good reason. In all honesty, if we could do another MOOC to couple with Learning How to Learn for students, we wish it would be a MOOC based on On Course. There is also a Study Skills Plus edition and a Facilitator’s Manual, as well as annotated instructor versions. There is solid research evidence that On Course works to make substantive improvements in retention—having read the books and used some of the approaches for years in our own teaching, we can understand why.

Australian Senior Mentor Linda Walker weighs in with intriguing MOOC suggestions

New on Coursera is ADHD: Everyday Strategies for Elementary Students from The State University of New York & The University at Buffalo. The first session begins on 23 May. Barb has met some of the producers of this course, and it looks like it will be outstanding, especially for parents of children with ADHD. Another topic that frequently comes up in Learning How to Learn discussions is learning with dyslexia—in this regard, the MOOC Supporting Children with Difficulties in Reading and Writing, from Coursera-University of London is generating very positive comments.

The University of Leeds has four ‘Learning Online’ MOOCs on FutureLearn designed to help high-school students transition to university or the workplace: Learning and Collaborating, Managing Your Identity, Reflecting and Sharing and Searching and Researching. Linda notes: “I’ve just started Searching and Researching, and I’m looking forward to Week 2 which promises to help me think critically about the information found online, and make judgments about its quality and usefulness – a useful upgrade to my self-taught researching skills!”

A Pomodoro Clock coded by a Learning How to Learner

One of our learners, Brandon Gottschling, has coded a pomodoro clock for desktop and mobile. Check out the Pomodoro clock, and the positive comments from other learners, on this thread.

Learning How to Learn in Bengali! শিখতে শেখা-আপনাকে সাহায্য করবে কঠিন বিষয় আয়ত্ত করতে

Our new Bengali Lead is Arifa Shahnaz, who is spearheading efforts to transform Learning How to Learn into Bengali (বাংলা অনুবাদ: শিখতে শেখা-আপনাকে সাহায্য করবে কঠিন বিষয় আয়ত্ত করতে). This will be the first ever translation of any MOOC into Bengali. If you speak Bengali, Arifa could really use your help as part of the little team she is forming. Please fill out this form to join a terrific group!

This is an excellent volunteering opportunity to translate world’s most popular course and to work with the dynamic and vibrant global translator community along with a cross cultural team of diverse learners. And think of the impact you will have on the lives of 300 million+ Bengali speaking community worldwide!

You can also connect with Arifa via linkedin @ (Here’s a discussion forum devoted to the new Bengali group.)

Arifa says: “Can’t wait to hear from you. Let’s do it together (চলুন একসাথে করি) !!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Barb’s favorite biographies—the continuing series

To wrap up this email, here is one of Barb’s favorite biographies: Peter the Great: His Life and World, by Robert Massie. This is truly one of the greatest biographies ever written, and fully deserving of its Pulitzer Prize. Not only does the book provide great insight into Peter the Great—it also takes us down some of the stranger rabbit holes of history. Who knew that Sweden’s Charles XII squirreled himself away in Turkey, driving his hosts crazy and refusing to leave? Barb babbled so much about the fascinating insights from this book that her family began rolling their eyes when she brought it up. 🙂

That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

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