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Publisher's Summary

One of the most complicated and advanced computers on Earth can't be purchased in any store. This astonishing device, responsible for storing and retrieving vast quantities of information that can be accessed at a moment's notice, is the human brain. How does such a dynamic and powerful machine make memories, learn a language, and remember how to drive a car? What habits can we adopt in order to learn more effectively throughout our lives? And how do external factors like traumatic injuries and mood affect our gray matter? The answers to these questions are merely the tip of the iceberg in The Learning Brain.

These 24 half-hour lectures offer in-depth and surprising lessons about how the brain learns and how we can optimize that learning. Begin your journey by focusing on which parts of the brain are responsible for different kinds of memory, from personal experiences and memorized facts to short-term memory, and how these systems work on a psychological and biological level. Then, discover how to better absorb and retain all kinds of memories in all stages of life. This course is chock-full of valuable information, whether you're learning a new language at 60 or discovering calculus at 16. If you need better study habits, struggle with learning a new skill, or just worry about memories fading with age, The Learning Brain will provide illuminating insights.

Take this journey with Thad Polk, professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, whose well-organized curriculum and relaxed teaching style ease you into intricate aspects of learning science, including the underlying cognitive and neural mechanisms involved. Professor Polk's credentials in psychology and over 20 years' experience in education shine through every lecture of The Learning Brain as he firmly supports this rigorous exploration with scientific studies conducted over the last several decades of neuroscientific research.

©2018 The Great Courses (P)2018 The Teaching Company, LLC

What listeners say about The Learning Brain

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Slow, useful, unconvincing

Slow going, I listened to about half at x2.5, but then this content was not new to me. I returned it. It is a reasonable introduction, probably, but I do have a problem when a single study of undergraduate students is presented as "scientific support" for sweeping generalizations, especially when the next one is picked apart and dismissed as bad science. Seemed a little questionable at times.

59 people found this helpful

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A good choice for learning how to learn

I recently chose to study this great course after seeing the author's impressive credentials. The book is about learning. It teaches learning by covering many aspects of how learning occurs by using case studies of patients with disorders, studies involving scientific brain imaging techniques, studies on animals, studies of children's brains at various life stages, and self assessments that you can try yourself. This book benefitted me by giving me strategies for learning more effectively. Some things I didn't like about this course were that a fair amount of the studies focused on animals and the intense focus on neuroscience. The main self improvement I gained from this course was a meta level awareness about learning by learning the limitations of my memory, learning strategies for learning implicit information, learning strategies for learning explicit information, learning the underlying mechanisms behind learning disorders, etc.. I generally would not recommend this great course to the people I know unless it was someone who is particularly academic.

46 people found this helpful

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Incredibly interesting





Nothing better than fact based knowledge. Everyone should have access to this information. I'm going straight to this Professor's other book, "The Aging Brain".

22 people found this helpful

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Best review on current research

Wonderful review of relevant research. As a teacher this was very useful. I can now discard the useless techniques knowing the research backs me up.

20 people found this helpful

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what I learned...

I learned there are two types of learning: explicit and symantec. Google these in depth and save yourself 14 hours.

20 people found this helpful

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good lectures about learning and the brain

I really enjoyed the content and especially the teaching by the professor and certainly one aspect that I was unexpected I will listen to him again

16 people found this helpful

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Excellent

A really great guide to the physiological and psychological processes happening in the brain as we learn. The Prof. Polk makes the subject matter very accessible and easy to understand too. This is an excellent reference for anyone wanting to improve their learning techniques or professionals in the teaching field who want to understand how to create more effective learning interventions for students at every level. Highly recommended!

14 people found this helpful

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A really great course

I enjoyed listening to this course and I did learn a great deal from it. The lecturer is a wonderful teacher and is a pleasure to listen to. I recommend this course highly.

12 people found this helpful

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At least every teacher should listen to it

Excellent, many interesting ideas based on credible research. Fun to listen. I learned new insights into how brain works.

12 people found this helpful

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One of the best Courses I have ever listened too.

Dr Polk is a great teacher. I like the way he explains the theory and how correlation does not always identify the cause. Good science takes time and improves over time.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-27-18

I'm Only 5 Hours In But Already Life Changing!

I bought this book on a whim, mainly to use up a 'free book' offer, as I thought it might give me some useful tips for learning Old English. It has. In spades! It has already made major changes to the way I study. But its benefits are far far more than just mere mnemonic parlour tricks (although it was fascinating to learn that there is some hard science behind the Loci Method etc). It has given me an understanding of how we learn -both implicit and explicit. Not only that , it helps me understand why I do what I do and amend my Social behaviour, (I can seriously recommend it to anyone looking to start a new relationship btw). But wait ; there is even MORE! ATM I am coming off Rx opiate painkillers which I have had to take daily for 30 years and this book explains so much, and helps me cope with the withdrawal. Thank you so much for this Professor Polk.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. J. A. Ball
  • 08-07-18

A fascinating course

Sorts the myths from the truth about learning, memory and how they really work. I recommend this course to anyone who wants to better understand optimal learning strategies for long term results.

11 people found this helpful

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  • John Mayhew
  • 09-28-18

Excellent

I highly recommend this as a preliminary course for students starting their psychology degree. I know I've done one, and taught one too. Excellent.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-24-18

Feedback on the lecture

Hi. Great lecture. Brief, engaging and to the point. Though the lecture was great the fees involved with having this app aren't affordable. Thee fees of this membership are too high for everyone to afford it. Reading great books and lectures shouldn't be a privilege to those who can afford paying but all people regardless of background etc.

This was a nice try. I am giving up this membership.

6 people found this helpful

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  • M E.
  • 08-20-19

Fantastic course

This course was well paced, it had great summaries and all sources were referenced. Great content with great examples. I would highly recommend it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Heather Grace Bond
  • 01-18-19

Excellent lecturer

Thad Polk is an outstanding teacher, delivering even complex material in a way that is accessible to all. His passion for learning is evident and infectious and the material he presents is simply fascinating. My learning will be so much more efficient now that I know where my time is best spent.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ascy
  • 04-25-22

Exceptional and the Best of 'The Great Courses'

I've listened to a fair number of 'The Great Courses' courses and this is, without a doubt, the best so far. Possibly the best non-fiction audiobook I've listened to.

There are loads of blogs and courses out there about how to improve yourself, approach problems and do this or that and a lot of them are just opinionated rubbish that have no basis in reality. This course on the other hand is all science based. This is how your brain works and this is how we know how your brain works. This is how you can improve learning things and this is why that works. Based on real science experiments and neuroscience research, there is just so much packed into it.

There might be the odd bit where you think that it's petering out and then, suddenly: bam! It hits you with more interesting and useful stuff. Such as the lecture about 'learned helplessness'. Sounds kind of obvious, but listening to that lecture really brought home what that phrase really means and how it actually comes about.

The only real downside is that sadly, some of the science is based on tests done with animals. It's obvious as a species that we owe a huge apology to rats and monkeys. But don't let that put you off, it's still super interesting and not a huge part of the course.

It's something that every teacher should be given a copy of and it's something I'd recommend that every person listens to. Really couldn't recommend this enough.

1 person found this helpful

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  • deebee
  • 05-01-21

Wonderfully woven journey into learning.

The subject matter is extremely comprehensive and covers multiple angles of learning. The chapters are sensibly packaged to give you the most out of any particular theory or concept. The pace builds up almost like a drama. The narrator is very relaxed and draws you into the book with his easy and engaging tone.

A wonderful course and I'm glad I found it. I work in education but this course would benefit everybody, involved in education or not, as it explores how the brain learns, which is relevant to all. I'm now going to explore other courses by this author!

Thank you.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-10-21

Excellent book

Interesting and useful material which makes reference to scientific studies if you want to read further. Clear and concise presenter. Thanks!

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  • Adisha
  • 10-06-18

Outstanding audio lecture

I really enjoyed listening to this very well structured and helpful course. It is packed full of great tips and strategies to help strengthen and reinforce the learning process.

I recommend this wonderful lecture series for teachers and students and anyone with a burning desire to learn new things.

(More detailed review to follow)

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  • Ronen
  • 06-02-22

as an educator, this was fantastic

lots of real world studies discussed in an intriguing way. I certainly learned a lot and would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who wants to improve their own learning as well as gain insights on how to potentially be a better teacher themselves.