Worldwide phenomenon ‘Learning How to Learn’ course now available in Kazakh language

NUR-SULTAN – Coursera’s most popular course, Learning How to Learn, is now available in the Kazakh language.

Barbara Oakley.

Its translation into Kazakh was made possible through the cooperative efforts of the Edgravity e-learning company and the academia.kz pedagogical skills’ virtual laboratory.

The course is now available free at the udemy.com and academia.kz websites. Since launching in the Kazakh language May 7, 70 students have begun the course on udemy.com.

Learning How to Learn has 1.6 million students from 200 countries. McMaster University and University of California San Diego offer the original English course by Oakland University Professor of Engineering Barbara Oakley and Professor of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies Terrence Sejnowski.

Its adaptation to the Kazakh audience became possible when Edgravity e-learning company founder Aigerim Khafizova’s former Professor Togzhan Kassenova introduced her to Oakley.

“I was attending my first ever Creative Nonfiction conference, where I ended up chatting to a professor of English. Hearing about my book project, she kindly offered to introduce me to one of her colleagues, Barbara Oakley. Little did I know what chain of events that introduction would launch,” Kassenova told The Astana Times.

Eskendir Bestai, Aigerim Khafizova, Ainur Koshkinbayeva, Talgat Almanov (L-R). Photo credit: Edgravity.

Kassenova and Oakley communicated through e-mail at first. Oakley supported Kassenova in writing her book on Kazakhstan’s nuclear history. Months later, they met in Washington in person.

“When Barbara and her husband came to Washington, I invited them for a Central Asian pilaf lunch. Barbara reached out to ask if anyone in Kazakhstan would be interested in filming Learning How to Learn in Kazakh, I immediately thought of my former student Aigerim who was pioneering the field of online education in Kazakhstan. I am thrilled that Aigerim and Barbara became collaborators,” she said.

Khafizova said that during that time Oakley was collaborating with educational institutions and companies to translate Learning How to Learn. The University of Sao Paulo and Russian Higher School of Economics, for example, translated the course to Portuguese and Russian accordingly. In summer 2018, Oakley, Khafizova and Knowledge Engineering director and academia.kz head Nartay Ashim signed an agreement on the adaptation of the course to the Kazakh audience. As a social initiative the course is available for free.

Khafizova and Ashim stressed the course in Kazakh is not a translation only. To adapt the course to the Kazakh audience, their team shot some videos of the course involving education and development specialist Eskendir Bestai, physicist Ainur Koshkinbayeva and television presenter Talgat Almanov among others.

“Instead of translating the course, we thought that it’s better to create the course with Kazakh characters involving Kazakh children in the course. We tried to create (the course) close to the audience… We could have translated it adding subtitles, but it would have lost its ‘nativeness’,” said Ashim.

The course gives fundamental knowledge that can be useful for everybody.

“The course will change the landscape of local education in two ways. First of all, it provides acclaimed learning techniques that will help every Kazakh speaking student master any field. Secondly, the Kazakh course is available for free and will be a great start in integrating online education to the lifestyle of local audience. These perspectives correlate with Edgravity’s value of promoting lifelong learning in Kazakhstan,” said Khafizova.

“There are little study materials in school curriculum to develop life skills, including hard and soft skills. It is not so easy for some people to learn new things. Barbara Oakley’s course teaches particular tools on how to learn. If you know these tools, it will be easy to learn anything. After that comes language learning, computer skills, etc. This course is a foundation,” added Ashim.

The course takes 12 hours to complete. That time is divided to weekly classes and can be adapted to the student’s schedule. It includes videos, exercises and bonus materials.

“This course gives you easy access to the invaluable learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines. We will learn about how a brain uses two very different learning modes and how it encapsulates (‘chunks’) information. We will also cover illusions of learning, memory techniques, dealing with procrastination, and best practices shown by research to be most effective in helping you master tough subjects,” the description of the course on Coursera says.

The course in Kazakh can be found at udemy.com/learninghowtolearn and academia.kz/kz/course/52.

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