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Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential


15 min read
8 take-aways
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What's inside?

Overcome the barriers that block your potential to learn and change.

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Personal and professional transformation is not only possible at any time of life, it’s easier than ever before thanks to new technologies. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley leverages stories from lifelong learners worldwide, insights from neuroscience and her own experience teaching online to show the benefits of adopting a learning lifestyle. By showcasing how people in various circumstances expanded their passions and made use of tools, such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Oakley offers practical guidance for tapping your potential. Her manual will be of particular interest to those who’d like to discover new talents and opportunities.


Learning leads to positive personal and professional development. 

Every day people discover that lifelong learning supports their personal and professional transformation. People who successfully instigate a “mindshift” – the effort of making profound changes in their lives through learning – often have the most positive impact.

Consider former professional musician Graham Keir, who always believed he couldn’t understand math and science. After playing concerts at a local hospital, he felt moved to become a doctor – a career change requiring mastery of these subjects. Keir leveraged his ability to persevere – honed during his time preparing for Juilliard – ignored naysayers, and struggled his way to an A- in his first calculus course at Columbia. Today, Keir attends Georgetown University’s medical school.

Like Keir, many people tell themselves they lack ability and remain stuck in personal or professional ruts. Yet when they broaden their horizons and embrace new challenges, they find the “impossible” is within their grasp. To think about the possibilities, ask yourself how you could expand your interests...

About the Author

Barbara Oakley, PhD, is a professor of engineering at Oakland University and Ramón y Cajal Distinguished Scholar of Global Digital Learning at McMaster University. She teaches two popular MOOCs: ”Learning How to Learn” and “Mindshift.” 

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