Online Course Review - Primal Learning
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Primal Learning - Join the 1% Fastest Learners

Created by Mathias Grønstad, Vegard Gjerde

Introduction

Learning and I spent most of our time at odds with each other during my typical Canadian public school education. I was one of those kids who could get about 70-80% in most classes without much effort, but unless I had a particularly talented teacher for a given class, I found it difficult to study once my grades started to matter. In other words, I was just smart enough to avoid having to study for the easy courses, but not quite smart enough to do well once things started getting more difficult. It wasn’t until grade 11, when I was once again saddled with my least favourite Math Teacher, that I swore to get a good grade in the class without listening to a word he said (I opted to spend the time doing examples from the book instead). Wonderfully enough, I found myself not only with a much better grade than the previous year, but a clearer understanding that listening to someone speak is just about the least effective learning method for me (at least when it comes to Math).

A few years after High School, when I began to try learning Java programming on my own, I once again ran into problems understanding and remembering the material. After a frustrating month or two, I stumbled across an Audio program called Accelerated Learning, by Brian Tracy and Colin Rose. While this program put thoughts and understanding into my head which answered so many questions from my previous experiences in class, I found a decent amount of the material to be rather fluffed up and superfluous. That being said, I very much enjoyed the forays into how cognition works (how the Brain learns things, more or less), as well as the practical items which I could implement straight away. Either reviewing Accelerated learning or trying out a new take on the subject has been on my back-burner for about a year now, but I wasn’t exactly on the lookout when Primal Learning flashed across my Udemy homepage.

I more or less found Primal Learning by accident, but just like my dear Mom says to console me, accidents can grow up into wonderful things too. Although I was far from sold at a glance, I checked out the syllabus along with a few preview videos, and it didn’t take me long to decide on making the purchase. The first thing which compelled me to give the program a try, was an apparent emphasis on the Scientific whys and wherefores behind the brain, moods, and learning processes. Being a nerd, I actually get excited about things like myelination of Axons, especially if it helps me to understand how my habits, impulses, and skills can be shaped to my benefit. The second thing which convinced me to give them my money, was the section concerning the effect of Exercise, Nutrition, Meditation, and Sleep on cognition and moods. Rather serendipitously, I’d spent the previous month making a solid effort to eat less junk food and fire back a vegetable/fruit smoothie once or twice a day. Although I didn’t necessarily need the Science to back up my Brain clearly functioning better post Broccoli shake, it certainly has cemented the habit.

The Gist

So, did Mathias and Vegard deliver? Absolutely. I’ll go into the finer details in the breakdown, but suffice it to say that I would (and already have) recommended this course to friends. I consider learning ‘how to learn better’, to be one of the most important things I’ve ever done. It really doesn’t matter what walk of life you find yourself in; you can benefit from this kind of information. The bottom line is that this course sets the bar where it should be when it comes to self-development. Ever since I became aware of, and learned about the concept of self-development, I’ve noticed an enourmous number of people who are just trying to sell me shit. Even if these people aren’t just trying to sell their products, I often get the feeling that they are trying to ‘sell me’ on their methods and beliefs. While there have absolutely been times when I’ve needed this kind of motivation to push through, good Science, relatable examples, and actionable techniques can make the content speak for itself. While Brian Tracy will always have a place in my Heart for all the insight I’ve gained from him, I think you’ll find a lot less fluff, and a lot more practical knowledge in Primal Learning. Also, Mathias looks and sounds like a live-action Skyrim character, which is pretty cool.

Overall: 4.6/5

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Breakdown

Presentation: 4/5

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Not a lot of gripes here. The Video content is delivered in a good range of resolutions, and the Editing looks polished and unobtrusive. Being a bit nitpicky, the Audio of certain segments (outdoor segments mainly), isn’t the clearest, but everything is crystal clear during the lessons. I didn’t have trouble understanding anything, but I noticed that one person in the discussion section mentioned having difficulty at times. Slides look good, fonts are tasteful (read: not comic-sans), and the course has a fairly professional overall feel to it.

Engagement: 5/5

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Mathias and Vegard split up the camera time roughly half for each person, and that seemed to flow nicely. Despite the content being quite technical at times (which is why I enjoyed it), both speakers do a good job delivering it. I got the feeling that Mathias and Vegard are not only interested in the subject matter and Science therein, but they actually practice what they preach. It is always easier to learn from individuals who at least appear interested in the material.

As to be expected from a course on Learning, the content was delivered using a variety of mediums, including photos, audio, video, and even an animation about Neurons. Why this is particularly important, is something which I hinted at in the introduction. People tend to have a few preferred “Learning Modalities”, so it is of the utmost importance to try and cover these bases in order to accommodate the largest number of students.

Information: 5/5

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How Valuable is the content? Although this one may be significantly impacted by the topic, I consider it to be valuable in some way, to just about anyone. Is the content backed up by Scientific Studies? I found plenty of those in the course. How easy is the information to understand? I didn’t have too much trouble, but to be fair, I’m enough of a nerd to have been familiar with many of the concepts (who doesn’t read about Neurotransmitters in their spare time?) in at least a cursory way. In most cases, I felt that I was given just enough of an overview of the Science, to understand how the effects manifest in the practical sections. Could I find free sources of the same info with a quick Google search? Many of the cited Studies are open source, but you’d really have to know what you are looking for to find them. The sheer density of information, and the sensible way in which it was structured, was worth having someone else do all of the groundwork

 

Return on Investment: I plan on keeping better records for my time in future course reviews, but you’ll have to bear with my rough estimates this time. It took me about 10 days, averaging about 1.5 hours a day (similar to my average spare time these days), to complete the program (save for the 30 day Speed reading Exercise). Given a more relaxed schedule, I’d say that the average person could wrap things up in a week. As for my monetary investment, I managed to purchase the program during a promotional event on Udemy, which made the decision 80% easier for me. Here’s the bottom line. If I had the income to purchase the course at full price, I would have done so. If you don’t mind parting with a couple Benjamins in exchange for a great course, I’d suggest you to do so; If not, keep tabs on it in case Udemy decides to slash it temporarily.