The science of learning NE709 / B19

5 Weeks
Learning Method
Online Delivered CPD


Online course. Flexible participation. Guided by Professor Paul Howard-Jones (The Secret Life of Four and Five Year Olds) and Professor Tim Jay, develop an understanding of the science of learning and discuss its impact on your teaching. Draw upon educational neuroscience and psychology to help you interpret student learning and behaviour in your classroom.

You'll be supported to reflect on your practice, to improve, to better justify your approach and be better informed about how students learn. Your students will benefit from your improved understanding of the plasticity of the brain, or with exposure to some of the ideas in the course, will be better placed themselves to understand their own learning potential.

By participating on this course you'll be expected to discuss your insights with colleagues, in particular combating neuroscience myths and being better placed to justify why certain teaching approaches are effective.

Ultimately, you will address the question: What is learning?

The Science Of Learning

If no dates are shown, you may still be able to join this course directly on FutureLearn.

"It made me reflect on learning as studied by scientists and as seen by teachers; the relationship between brain behaviour, our developing identities and how we teach." - Participant feedback

Who is it for?

This course is for teachers, NQT, RQT in primary, secondary and FE STEM subjects. Teaching assistants, tutors and ITT may also benefit, though the course will be framed within teaching classroom contexts. You will need recent classroom experience to benefit from the reflective activities on this course.

What topics are covered?

This five week course covers:

  • Learning to learn: the first week introduces the science of learning, busting myths and providing a scientific basis for understanding what’s happening in your classroom. The engage-build-consolidate model will be introduced and revisited throughout the course.
  • Engagement for learning: consider the effects of praise, rewards, novelty and anxiety on the learning process.
  • Construction: the science behind drawing upon prior knowledge, how new learning is encoded in the brain in a multisensory way and the impact of body language.
  • Consolidation of learning: the relationship between working memory and long-term memory, how learning is consolidated through different contexts and the role of sleep.
  • Plasticity: the plasticity of the brain and the roles students and teachers play in shaping it.

This course takes around three hours per week to complete. You can choose when and where to participate, studying around your work and life commitments. You are supported and encouraged to discuss your ideas with fellow teachers, try out activities, apply concepts to your teaching context and reflect on your practice. You will have access to high-quality resources, including classroom footage and guidance from experienced teachers and careers experts.

You will have seven weeks free access to this course. To receive a certificate (once eligible) and for extended access, you will need to Upgrade with FutureLearn.

Who are the course leaders?

This course is led by Karen Hornby, Rachel Jackson , Tim Jay and Paul Howard-Jones.

This course has been developed by The National STEM Learning Centre in partnership with Professor Paul Howard-Jones and Professor Tim-Jay, funded by the Welcome Trust as part of the Education and Neuroscience Initiative. You will be supported online mentors with background in educational neuroscience, primary and secondary education.


You will be able to:

  • explore how the science of learning applies to your classroom to provide insight into how your students learn and their learning potential
  • develop your approach to engaging students with their learning
  • apply an understanding of what is happening in the brain to improve your students’ longer term memory and retrieval of knowledge
  • discuss and articulate your teaching and learning choices with your colleagues
  • engage in action research and collaborate with researchers in the science of learning


The science of learning03 August 202000:00-00:00Online course


The email address you give when you apply will be used to send you joining instructions and information about your course. Please make sure you can be contacted directly with this email address.

This course is hosted on the FutureLearn social learning platform. In addition to STEM Learning Terms and Conditions, by booking on this course you are consenting to your details being shared with FutureLearn under their Terms and Conditions for Invited Learners. By accepting the National STEM Learning Centre’s invitation to register on this course on FutureLearn, you agree that your information will be held by FutureLearn and National STEM Learning Centre as data controllers in common.

The invitation to register on FutureLearn will be sent to you no later than the course start date.

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State-funded school or collegeActivity feeFree
Fee-paying school or college (independent)Activity feeFree

Participants from outside the UK will be charged the course fee and an additional £120 per day plus VAT.

Outside the UK? Fee information

Additional information

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