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For RSU Employees
Conferences, workshops

The Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) Centre for Educational Growth invites RSU lecturers to a workshop Using Neuroscience To Understand And Motivate Our Students - And Us! conducted by Barbara Oakley, Professor of Engineering at Oakland University (Rochester, Michigan) on 23 May at 12.00 in the Senate Hall.

Barbara Oakley’s (pictured) work is closely linked to research about the intersection of neuroscience and sociology. In this four-hour seminar, she will share her expertise on how brain activity affects learning.

This is also a unique opportunity to learn about the surprising benefits of poor memory and slower learning.


But perhaps the most important question to be answered in the seminar will be why, in a world where learning is focused on the learning needs of students, the lecturer is and will remain indispensable.

The seminar will take place in English.

Recognised worldwide

Prof. Oakley's research focuses on the complex relationship between neuroscience and social behaviour. She has reached millions of students, teachers and lecturers through books such as A Mind for Numbers, Learning How to Learn, Uncommon Sense Teaching: Practical Insights in Brain Science to Help Students Learn, which have won acclaim from learning and teaching researchers around the world.

She is a world-renowned expert and has been published in such internationally respected journals as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. In addition, her 2017 research has been described as "groundbreaking" by the Wall Street Journal.


Prof. Oakley is one of the foremost experts in making online courses accessible to a wide audience. She is the co-creator of one of the world's most popular online courses, with over three million registered users, UCSD-Coursera's Learning How to Learn, offered by Coursera, the learning platform of the University of California, San Diego. The course is based on insights from her New York Times bestselling book A Mind for Numbers.

Despite her significant experience and success in research, Prof. Oakley has had a wide range of experience in different fields. Early in her career, she served in the US Army, where she was promoted to Captain and recognised as an outstanding military scientist. She has also worked as a communications expert at the South Pole Station in Antarctica and as a Russian language interpreter on Soviet trawlers in the Bering Sea.

The mysterious nature of the brain and neurons in the learning process

The Centre for Pedagogical Development has invited Prof. Oakley to share her research and practical experience, giving RSU lecturers the opportunity to learn more about how she went from being a math-hating humanities enthusiast to a distinguished engineering professor. This story serves as a gateway to a much deeper story about the depths of the brain and neurons and the importance of the processes that take place there during learning.

After the workshop you will be able to:

  • explain the difference between declarative (hippocampal) and procedural (basal ganglia) learning and why both learning strategies are important,
  • describe the difference between consolidation and overlapping and explain why both processes are important in learning art, reading, mathematics, language and many other areas,
  • explain, using neuroscience, why retrieval practice (a learning technique in which the learner recalls a piece of information) involves much more than simple memorisation of facts,
  • explain neural circuits and their relationship to motivation and sense of identity.
Register through RSU e-studies or via the RSU Academic portal.