MetaLearning

ML174: Barbara Oakley on Learning Like a Pro, Uncommon Sense Teaching and The Value of Procedural Learning

Discover how and why one of the world's leading authorities on learning is releasing two books in quick succession, the main insights from the last 5 years of research on the learning process and the difference between declarative and procedural memory.
Nasos Papadopoulos

Barbara Oakley is an educator and writer who’s empowering people all over the world to learn more effectively.

Long time listeners will remember Barb from Episodes 46 and 115 of the Podcast where we discussed her background and her journey in education as well as her development as a thought leader.

She’s best known for her role as the lead instructor on Coursera’s Learning How To Learn, which became one of the world’s most popular online courses and her bestselling book A Mind for Numbers but in the last few years she’s created an incredible body of work including multiple books and online courses.

In this episode we discuss:
- How and why Barb is releasing not one but two books in quick succession Learn like a Pro and Uncommon Sense Teaching
- The main insights from the last 5 years of research on the learning process
- The difference between declarative and procedural memory and why that matters for learning

This was a great conversation, full of fascinating insights about the learning process that you can go away and apply straight away.

Show Notes

  • Introducing Barb [00:37]
  • How the pandemic changed Barb's workflow [02:30]
  • What are Barb’s upcoming books, Learn Like a Pro and Uncommon Sense Teaching, and her new courses, all about? [04:01]
  • What does the process of making an online course look like? [05:39]
  • Where do Barbara’s upcoming projects fit into her wide body of work on the science of learning? How has her work progressed over time? [07:46]
  • What are some significant developments that have happened to the field of learning since Barbara started researching it? [13:59]
  • Why are we seeing a decline in the practice of procedural learning? [22:52]
  • Does B.F. Skinner’s behaviorist approach to learning restrict further developments in cognitive learning? [23:34]
  • What was Noam Chomsky’s role in the cognitive revolution and in the discrediting of procedural learning? [25:58]
  • Barb shares the most expensive yet unpublicised experiment in education, and how it captures the tension of opposing views in education [32:21]
  • What has the pandemic revealed about the pros and cons of online learning? [35:28]
  • Examples and opportunities of a low-cost, high-quality education [38:11]
  • Closing remarks [40:52]

Resources

Follow Barb online

Website | Books | Courses

Barb’s previous MetaLearn episodes

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