The science of learning NE709 / B20

5 Weeks
Learning Method
Online Delivered CPD


Online, self-paced course, created in collaboration with Professor Paul Howard-Jones and Professor Tim Jay, funded by the Wellcome Trust as part of the Education and Neuroscience Initiative. Develop an understanding of the science of learning and consider its impact on your teaching. Draw upon educational neuroscience and psychology to help you interpret student learning and behaviour in your classroom.

You'll reflect on your practice, improve how you interact with students, 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, and with exposure to some of the ideas in the course, will be better placed themselves to understand their own learning potential.

After participating in this course you'll be able 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?

Who is it for?

This course is for teachers, teaching assistants, supply teachers, newly qualified teachers, trainee teachers and others involved in the education of young people at primary, secondary or further education (ages 5-19 years). 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
  • building knowledge: 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

How will you learn?

This online, self-paced course can be completed flexibly. Participants can join and start this course at any time after the advertised date. Find out how our online CPD works.

How long is this course?

This course takes around three hours per week to complete and you do not need to be online at any specific time. You can take the course at your own pace.

Who is the course leader?


By the end of this course, 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 May 202100:00-00:00Online course


Group enrolments: If you are a school, college or MAT and wish to arrange payment by invoice for 25 or more participants, please contact quoting the course code, title and start date.

FutureLearn terms and conditions: This course is hosted on the FutureLearn social learning platform and you will need to create an account if you do not already have one. 

In addition to STEM Learning Terms and Conditions, by booking on this course you are consenting to FutureLearn’s Terms and Conditions for Invited Learners. By booking onto this course, you agree that your information will be held by FutureLearn and National STEM Learning Centre as data controllers in common, and that by joining the course on FutureLearn your progress will be monitored by STEM Learning.

If you have booked in advance of the course being available, you will receive an email to access the course on FutureLearn no later than the course start date.

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State-funded school or collegeActivity fee£30.00 +VAT
Fee-paying school or college (independent)Activity fee£60.00 +VAT

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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