Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential


Changing careers has become increasingly popular. With the world becoming more technologically advanced, and with fewer people suitably qualified to fill important vacancies, people already in the work force are shifting their focus. My own journey began in earnest about a year ago. I had set out to become a developer but I also got really entranced by the design aspect.

Redesigning My Life

Although I always had a passion for design, I didn’t think I was good enough to pursue it.

That was until I designed the icon for ChemCount. This was an incredibly challenging endeavor and yet I had so much fun doing it. I am immensely proud of the result and even though the app does not work, I keep it on my phone just to see that beautiful design.

In earlier posts I spoke about how I am reorganizing my surroundings and mindset to follow my new found confidence in my creative ability. My transition has been purposely designed to be gradual because I want to take full opportunity of the resources currently available to me in the laboratory. Using what I already know to enhance my learning in a new field is both exhilarating and nostalgic. I sometimes find myself not wanting to change or leave but going through this process brings closure.

Mindshift by Barbara Oakley

Whilst finishing Learning How to Learn, I got the recommendation to do Mindshift. Although the previous course was aimed at learners old and new, this course is designed for people who may already be working. Some of them may wish to enhance their skills to benefit their current career, while others may want a total change.

The course highlights the benefits of a mind shift but also warns of the possible anxiety a change of this magnitude may cause. It presents students with solutions to problems common in this pursuit of transformation.

It encourages us to be open about what our personal challenges are and gives us the tools to explore their impact on our lives. Examples of people who have made similar changes are presented throughout and available tools like MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are discussed.

The Writing Assignment

We were asked to write an essay about what we learnt during the four week course.

For this assignment, we would like you to write as if you were writing to a good friend about the ideas of the Mindshift MOOC. We’d like you to name three key concepts of the course from the list below, their relevance to your life, their impact on you, and what kinds of changes you’ll be making in your life as a consequence of what you’ve learned. In all, this description should total approximately 200 to 400 words.

Below is my submission:

Active learning

Something occurred to me while doing this course called Mindshift. I had been doing it all wrong; learning that is. I was lying to myself by believing the illusions of competence I had created. Reading through a textbook once could not make me an expert on a subject. I had to reinforce that knowledge with active learning. Taking notes while reading would help. I think that capturing my first impressions on the text would help solidify my remembering it. I needed to apply deliberate practice to my studies. Reviewing my notes after would entrench new concepts. I need to find time to do more textbook examples and problem sets in the future. Doing enhances learning, I tell you.

My MOOC journey

MOOCs have played an important role in my life as a student in a distance learning programme. Do you remember when MIT first introduced their OCW (open courseware) initiative. I was so excited to be learning from one of the best institutions in the world. I low key wanted to be an MIT student. Obviously I was exhilarated when MIT announced that they would be joining Harvard University to offer MOOCs on edX. My initial excitement faded when I had to work really hard to submit a problem set in time. It returned tenfold when I succeeded and passed. That feeling was pure bliss. That ‘I worked really hard for this’ feeling. Going forward I would like to use the discussion forums and social connections which will allow me to interact and network with fellow students. Here’s to lifelong learning.

Pomodoro Technique

Procrastination is a big problem for me. It’s not like I’m lazy or anything. Once I get working, I’m usually very productive. My problem is getting started. Then I learnt about this thing called The Pomodoro Technique. Being the tech savvy person that I am, I sought out an application. I found this app called Focus Keeper. Now I don’t struggle to get started anymore. I mean 25 minutes is not a long time right. And I get a whole five minutes after to just chill and maybe just daydream a bit. Breaking tasks into these manageable chunks has made work so much more fun.

End of submission. Thanks for reading.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. This is exactly where I am! I can’t remember if I read something along the lines of learning how to learn (it could’ve been talks), but Mindshift might be something I should invest a couple of hours in!


    1. Francois Majola says:

      I know right. It’s like I’m finally understanding how to learn more effectively. Thanks for reading friend.


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