How can we leverage the science of learning to transform student learning?

A project that engages students as active producers and facilitators of knowledge translation, with equity and epistemic diversity at its heart.

With the aim of building student agency as leaders of learning, a collaborative team at Griffith University has initiated the project, Empowering leaders of learning through the science of learning: Collective knowledge building and co-design with student leaders and educators. This project explores how students-as-learners and students-as-mentors interpret, translate, and communicate the science of learning with the purpose of supporting learning literacy for learners and educators.

The ‘science of learning’ refers to the body of research devoted to understanding learning. This often occurs in many disciplines (e.g., psychology, education, learning sciences, neuroscience), and across many levels of analysis and applications (labs; classrooms) (e.g. Dunlosky, Rawson, Marsh, Nathan, & Willingham, 2013; Weinstein, Madan, & Sumeracki, 2018).

The science of learning is often translated by researchers and educators for educators (e.g., Horvath, et. al., 2016), then translated for students (notable e.g., ‘The Learning Scientists’). While these resources are excellent for students’ use, we are curious as to how epistemically inclusive these resources are for equity groups, the marginalised, the culturally diverse, and importantly, for students as learners, acknowledging the realities of students’ complex lived realities.

The Project

In this project we aim to empower students with the science of learning, thereby strengthening students’ metacognition about learning, which is an important aspect of students’ educational wellbeing (Morehead, Rhodes, & DeLozier, 2015; Tavakolizadeh, Yadollahi, & Poorshafei, 2012). This will enable them to transform this knowledge into practical learning strategies as contextualised by their experiences as learners and as student mentors.

An important aspect of this project is the focus on equity and epistemic diversity. To this end, we deliberately designed the students as partners program from the perspective of social design-based experiment methodology (Gutiérrez & Jurow, 2016). SDBE shares underpinning ethos of students-as-partners (SaP) approaches as empowering the people in the community of focus with educational dignity and agency (Espinoza, et. al., 2020; Mercer-Mapstone & Bovil, 2020).

It is anticipated that this equity-focused collective knowledge building will shift students from passive consumers to active producers and facilitators of knowledge translation, and one that is authentically reflective of lived realities of students. This will be evidenced through co-creation of research-informed resources to support learning (as active producers), and through research-informed peer mentoring (as active facilitators).

Dr Sakinah Alhadad, Dr Jude Williams, Chantelle Warren, Rhys Cooper, Nathan Seng


Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E.J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4-58.

Espinoza, M. L., Vossoughi S., Rose, M., & Poza, L. E. (2020). Matters of participation: Notes on the study of dignity and learning, Mind, Culture, & Activity.

Gutiérrez, K. D., & Jurow, S. A. (2016) social design experiments: Toward equity by design. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 25(4), 565-598.

Horvath, J. C., Lodge, J. M., and Hattie, J. (2016). From the laboratory to the classroom: Translating science of learning for teachers. Abingdon: Routledge Press.

Mercer-Mapstone, L., & Bovill, C. (2020). Equity and diversity in institutional approaches to student–staff partnership schemes in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 45(12), 2541-2557.

Morehead, K., Rhodes, M. G., & DeLozier, S. (2015). Instructor and student knowledge of study strategies. Memory,

Tavakolizadeh, J., Yadollahi, H., & Poorshafei, H. (2012). The role of self regulated learning strategies in psychological well being condition of students. Procedia – Social & Behavioral Sciences, 69, 807-815.

Weinstein, Y., Madan, C.R. & Sumeracki, M.A. (2018). Teaching the science of learning. Cognitive Research: Principles & Implications,3(2).

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Join the Shift Happens Network

If you are an educator, scholar, researcher, learner, leader or partner of higher education with an interest in education that is future-ready and future-capable you can register and become part of the network here. When you register, you will receive updates on the network’s activities and have an opportunity to highlight how your practice is reimagining education for the future.