30th May 2019

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Pakistan: A Hard Country, by Anatol Lieven. Barb read this book preparation for her upcoming trip to Pakistanbut now that she’s read it, she’s realized what a comprehensive, thought-provoking, beautifully written book it is: truly a masterpiece of on-the-ground research. You may be surprised to discover ideas such as why sharia law is preferable for many Pakistanis to western (and often deeply corrupt) legal processes, and to learn just how deeply diverse Pakistan’s religious base is. Pakistan came together in a way almost guaranteed to make it a challenging country to govern—it can be difficult for outsiders to appreciate the dramatically diverse demands of the population.

Here’s a snippet of Lieven’s writing involving his journey through the little town of Shapqadar to do more interviews. “Bypass roads are unknown in small towns in Pakistan and we had made the mistake of travelling on a market day. Traffic jam doesn’t begin to describe the results – more like a double reef knot. The crossroads in the centre of town was a maelstrom of dust and exhaust fumes, apparently sucking into it cars, buses, trucks, scooter rickshaws, horse-carts, donkey-carts, men pushing carts, men on horseback and one understandably depressed-looking camel, all mixed up with a simply incredible number of people on foot for such a small town, as if the heavens had opened on a Sunday morning and rained humanity on Shapqadar. Out of the dust-shrouded mêlée the brightly painted lorries with their great carved wooden hoods loomed like war elephants in an ancient battle.”

Background research (and writing) doesn’t get any better than that. Lieven does his homework in knitting a comprehensive perspective of an extraordinary country. If you want to learn about the history, religions, government, and social mores of a critically important country on the global stage, you couldn’t do better than to read Lieven’s critically-acclaimed book.

Barb speaking in Pakistan and Panama


  • Islamabad: Brief keynote at 3:00 on June 12 in conjunction with the Higher Education Commission. To attend the Islamabad talk, RSVP with Ms Wajiha Hasan –
  • Lahore: LUMSa panel discussion at 3:30 pm June 13th, followed by a keynote at 5:00 pm.
  • Karachi:  Panel discussion at the Aga Khan University at 3:00 pm June 14th, followed by a keynote at 4:00 pm.

To attend the Lahore or Karachi talks, RSVP with or


  • Barb will be in Panama City, Panama, speaking for senior executives of the Inter-American Development Bank with  HyperIsland about “Learning How to Change,” on the morning of June 5th.

A New Language Learning App, Rooted in Neuroscience

Gabriel Wyner is the author of one of our favorite books on language learning, Fluent Forever. (The Audible version is read by Gabriel himself.) He’s been building a language learning app rooted in the neuroscience of learning, and it just came out a month ago. Truth be told, it looks spectacular. There’s a two week free trial and he’s offering Cheery Friday readers an exclusive 40% off discount on a 2-year subscription (Use code ‘cheery40′), and 20% off of any other subscription (Use code ‘cheery20’), valid through 7/31.

A Lifetime Dream Achieved (and Barb Was There to See It!)

As you know, we’re big fans of the blog Online Learning Success, run by Pat Bowden—we frequently link to her articles.  When we were in Australia last week we got to meet up with Pat in Brisbane; we helped her achieve a lifetime dream!  Read all about it in Pat and Barb’s adventure here.  

An Interview with Barb at University of Technology Sydney about How to Make Videos More Engaging

Following her workshop at the University of Technology, Sydney, Barb gave an interview that summarized and dug deeper into some of the ideas. As Barb notes: “Quality videos add a lot to an online class. Yet instructors all too often create online classes by placing links and references online and telling students to have at it. When videos are made for such a class, they can be stultifyingly boring. But the advantages of learning through well-made video are obvious. Why should a student bother to become engaged if the professor can’t even be bothered to make worthwhile videos?”

Changing the Landscape of Local LearningLHTL in Kazakhstan

Enterprising countries like Kazakhstan know that the future lies in learningand teaching youth how to learn effectively is the best way to give the country a boost that will last lifetimes. Led by Edgravity e-learning company founder Aigerim Khafizova, and Edgravity have teamed together to create a truly Kazakh version of the Learning How to Learn course, starring education and development specialist Eskendir Bestai, physicist Ainur Koshkinbayeva and television presenter Talgat Almanov. The Kazakh course is not a simply a translation. As the head of, Nartay Ashim, notes:

“Instead of translating the course, we thought that it’s better to create the course with Kazakh characters involving Kazakh children in the course. We tried to create (the course) close to the audience… We could have translated it adding subtitles, but it would have lost its ‘nativeness’.”

“The course will change the landscape of local education in two ways. First of all, it provides acclaimed learning techniques that will help every Kazakh speaking student master any field. Secondly, the Kazakh course is available for free and will be a great start in integrating online education to the lifestyle of local audience. These perspectives correlate with Edgravity’s value of promoting lifelong learning in Kazakhstan.”

Read about the course’s origins here, and check it out on either of the following two platforms:


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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