Discover the scientific research about learning and how it applies to your classroom, on this CPD-certified course for educators.

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The Science of Learning

Improve your teaching by discussing the science of learning

What is learning? How does it work? On this course you try and answer these questions, exploring how you can use the science of learning to inform your teaching and support your students’ learning.

Drawing upon educational neuroscience and psychology (and combating neuroscience myths), you will learn how to interpret research to be better informed about how your students learn. Throughout the course, you will reflect on your own practice as a teacher, learning how to justify and improve your approach.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second What is learning? And how can teachers support all students to be better learners? How can an understanding of the science of learning, help you develop your classroom practice? Our scientific understanding of learning has now advanced far enough for us to offer answers to these and other questions, that have practical implications for education. This course is designed for teachers, to help you consider what’s happening in your classroom and to make better informed decisions. By the end of the course, you’ll be thinking about how you can improve teaching and learning, by drawing on the latest thinking, in educational neuroscience in psychology.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds You’ll be discovering how different regions of the brain become involved in learning, and what this means for the types of decision you make as a teacher, for optimizing your students’ learning. Together, we’ll debunk the neuroscience myths, and look at why, as teachers, you have an important role to play, in shaping the brains of your students. We’ll help you look at the scientific research, for insight into how your students learn. Students themselves are much more aware of how they learn, and that they can change, the way they learn with the support of the teacher.

Skip to 1 minute and 19 seconds And myself, as a professional, now being able to have that dialogue with the students in front of me, and involving them with it, I’ve just seen them start to flourish and change. Throughout, you’re being encouraged to discuss your ideas with other teachers, and you’ll be supported in reflecting on your practice. You’ll hear from other educators about how research has informed their teaching, and how typical classroom practices, may be influenced by insights form research. The impact on my practice through using research is two fold. It makes me more confident, it makes me understand my job better, but it also makes me want to come to work.

Skip to 1 minute and 56 seconds It makes me want to challenge, and move on, and establish myself further as a teacher. By the end of this course, you’ll be better able to justify your teaching approaches, based on scientific evidence, and reflect on your teaching. Together, we’ll be separating the neuromyth from the neurofact. And discovering how as teachers, you’re not just developing minds. But also the function and even the structure, of your student’s brains. Join us on The Science of Learning.


  • Week 1

    Busting myths

    • Welcome to the course

      Welcome to The Science of Learning. On this course you will discover how amazing our brain is: how we learn, how the brain adapts and what all this means for teachers and your students. We start by asking: what is learning?

    • Fact or fiction?

      Neuromyths are commonly held beliefs about how the brain works that are not completely accurate or are just plain wrong. What neuromyths do you know about and is there any truth in them?

    • Exploring the science of learning

      As you begin to explore the science of learning, you’ll need to adopt a critical approach. When presented with new ideas, how do you assess whether they will work or not in your teaching context?

  • Week 2

    Engagement for learning

    • What is engagement?

      We often use the phrase ‘engage brain’ or ensure we have shared attention before we start teaching. How do you engage your students and why is it important for their learning?

    • Ways of engagement

      Reward, novelty and shared attention are ways to engage learners. How does this translate to the classroom?

    • Anxious learners

      We’ve looked at the approach response, now we need to consider negative influences of subcortical structures. How do you avoid unnecessary anxiety in your students?

    • Mirror! Mirror!

      We’ve focused so far on activities which you plan for in your teaching. How does what you convey unintentionally affect the learning of your students?

  • Week 3

    Building of knowledge and understanding

    • Making the connections

      Being aware of students’ prior knowledge is important for a teacher, because this is the foundation on which the students’ new knowledge will build.

    • Working memory

      Our working memory plays an important role in learning, and it can easily be overloaded. Freeing up the working memory makes room for new learning. How can we make the most of our working memory networks?

    • Multisensory learning

      At the very start of the course we introduced the idea that the brain is multisensory, using different senses to form representations of new knowledge and experiences. What does multisensory learning mean for your classroom?

  • Week 4

    Consolidation of learning

    • Consolidation of learning

      Long term retrieval and applying knowledge and understanding to new contexts are two aims of successful learning, but they are also useful processes through which to consolidate learning. What is consolidation?

    • Practice as learning

      Practice through questioning and applying knowledge in new situations helps to store information. What forms of practice are most effective in your classroom?

    • Sleeping for learning

      Hopefully you won’t have students sleeping in your lessons, but sleep does play an important part in the consolidation process. How might we share this research with students?

    • The whole learning process

      Now is the time to revisit daily review in light of the engage, build and consolidate model. What daily review activities will you develop?

  • Week 5

    The Science of Learning in your classroom

    • The importance of teachers

      Teaching is the only profession that has a direct influence on the structure of the brains of young people. How will you enable your students to realise how much they can influence their learning too?

    • Evaluating EBC

      We’ve introduced the engage, build, consolidate model of learning to help you think about what is happening in your classroom. How useful is this and what would you change?

    • Engaging critically with the research

      Without access to journals or the time to search the internet, it can be very difficult to find the ‘right’ sources of research and evidence. How will you engage with the research?

    • Action research as a teacher

      We’d like you to think about how you can start action research to support your professional development, that of your colleagues and ultimately the learning of your students. What could you explore in your classroom?

    • Reviewing your professional development

      Review your professional development and plan your next steps to sustain and develop the way you plan for learning.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course has been accredited by the CPD Certification Service, which means it can be used to provide evidence of your continuing professional development.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll 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

Who is the course for?

This course is for teachers and educators supporting students of all ages, including newly qualified teachers (NQT), subject leaders and school leadership. Some concepts are contextualised with examples from primary, secondary and FE STEM subjects, but the principles apply to all disciplines. Teaching assistants, tutors and trainee teachers 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.

Who will you learn with?

Professor of Neuroscience and Education, University of Bristol

Professor of Psychology of Education at the Centre for Mathematical Cognition, Loughborough University. I take an interdisciplinary approach to research young children’s mathematics learning

I taught science for ten years and was Head of Science for three years, before becoming a subject specialist at the National STEM Learning Centre.

I spent 10 years working as a primary classroom teacher, 7 as a science subject leader. I’ve also supported schools as a leading science teacher before joining STEM learning as a primary specialist.

Who developed the course?

National STEM Learning Centre

The National STEM Learning Centre provides world-class professional development activities and resources to support the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.


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