Online course

The Science of Learning

Discover the scientific research about learning and apply it in your classroom to help you teach STEM subjects.

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.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondWhat 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 secondsYou'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 secondsAnd 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 secondsIt 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.

What topics will you cover?

  • Learning to learn: introduction to the science of learning, busting myths and helping you use research to inform your classroom practice.
  • Engagement for learning
  • Construction of learning
  • Consolidation of learning
  • Plasticity of the brain
  • Becoming an action researcher

When would you like to start?

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
  • Engage in action research and collaborate with researchers in the science of learning

Who is the course 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.

Who will you learn with?

Karen Hornby

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.

Rachel Jackson

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.

Tim Jay

Professor of Psychology of Education at Sheffield Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University. I take an interdisciplinary approach to research young children's mathematics learning.

Paul Howard-Jones

Professor of Neuroscience and Education, University of Bristol

Who developed the course?

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.


Learners collage mobile
Join this course


  • Access to this course for 7 weeks
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes


  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime