Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects (McMaster University and University of California San Diego)

What recommendations do you have for other facilitators who are using "Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects"? Consider sharing additional resources you found helpful, activities that worked particularly well, and some reflections on who this course is best suited for. For more information, see this course on P2PU’s course page.

This course received a 5 star rating from a facilitator!

What did you hope to achieve when you signed up to facilitate this learning circle?
Dive in to gain practice as a facilitator, understand how to morph a self-guided online course to suit group discussions, and (personally) learn about the course topic: how our brains learn.

To what extent did you achieve this?

Did anything about the learning circle surprise you?
Tons of sign-ups, very few show-ups. I was surprised by how easily the course adapted to the format, though we consistently ran over the allotted 90 min. It was really great to see the immediate positive impact it had on the participants’ other projects/passions.

Do you have any stories from the learning circle you want to share with the P2PU community?
Both of my participants adapted something from the learning circle into their own work almost immediately! One was inspired by our technical setup (Jitsi + Etherpad) and brought it to a large group project for a certificate program she’s enrolled in. The other was inspired by a group conversation and spent the next day converting her knowledge to an impressive self-guided curriculum for pottery to share with her community. Super cool!

How well did the online course work as a learning circle?

Why did you give the course 5 star(s)?
It’s a 5 with some caveats. The materials were designed for 2h/week for four weeks which adapted well to a learning circle. They were paced and ordered fairly well, so I didn’t need to do much legwork to make an agenda for us to follow. Some of the content seemed a little outdated (though charming!) which was a little frustrating but ultimately inspired good conversations where we tried to fill the gaps. It was a great course for my first time facilitating.

How likely are you to recommend facilitating a learning circle to a friend or colleague?

Facilitating seems intimidating on the surface, but once I could get myself into the mindset of “I am just showing up to learn this course this week,” it was really enjoyable! It felt productive to set aside two hours to really focus on learning something, and doing it with peers meant accountability and much more interesting interpretations of the materials. I learned just as much from our chats and the links shared as I did from the course!

I used this course to facilitate my first learning circle! I’d recommend it for anyone looking for a widely-applicable topic with accessible materials. There are lots of helpful visualizations, consistent analogies, and plain language explanations.

We met online in a Jitsi video conference for 4 Saturdays, 90min/meeting. 4 participants came to the first meeting, 2 of whom consistently came to the rest of the meetings.

The course is composed of a mix of videos and quizzes plus a ton of additional content (video interviews, readings, recommended webpages). The materials feel a little dated, but it was all fairly relevant to our group. (There’s some focus on students and test-taking which wasn’t as helpful but still contained practical advice.)

I recommend following the course materials as designed. I found that quickly reviewing an upcoming week’s content and making a loose meeting schedule was sufficient for pre-planning—it was great to just show up and learn with my participants! We would begin meetings by reviewing the previous week’s concepts, then we’d alternate watching course videos and discussing them as a group.

I created an Etherpad agenda to loosely schedule meetings and prepare some question prompts for our meetings, which you can find here: