EngagementNews and Updates

The Science of Learning


We have decided to postpone this Course. Our current priorities have been redirected to the rapidly evolving COVID19 situation and the impact it has on our University.

We will run this Course later this year, and will update you as soon as we know when. We apologise for any disappointment, and thank you for your understanding in this challenging time.

– Melde for The Coffee Courses Team







cartoon of a neural network
Image by Ahmed Gad, downloaded from Pixabay.com

What do we know about how students learn? How does this inform the ways in which we educate students in the 21st Century? The science of learning brings together research from cognitive psychology, education and neuroscience to aid our understanding and application of effective teaching and learning strategies. In this Coffee Course we will explore evidence-based strategies relevant to the educational environment, teacher and student that can be utilised to enhance teaching and learning. We will describe the research supporting each strategy and provide examples of how these strategies can be implemented in your educational practice to promote learning.


To be announced. There will be 4 blog posts, one per day, that will take about 15-20 minutes to work through. You are welcome to work through the course at your own pace, any time.


Day 1 – Let’s bust some myths about learning. What is learning? What myths do we need to bust before we begin exploring effective learning strategies?

Day 2 – The educational environment. How do we create an environment that is conducive to learning?

Day 3 – The teacher. What evidence-based strategies can teachers integrate into their educational practice to enhance student learning?

Day 4 – The student. What can students do to make their learning more effective?

All are welcome

We welcome all staff, including tutors, demonstrators, professional staff, and academics at the Australian National University and beyond to join us for this course.

How to participate

The entire course will be conducted online, at your own pace through this blog. We encourage you to make a cup of coffee or tea and work through the material. Each post includes an activity or discussion question for you to respond to in the comment section of the blog. Be sure to subscribe to the blog (scroll down to the bottom, enter your email address and click on the red Subscribe button). If you use an RSS reader you can subscribe to the blog feed as well. You’ll receive an email each time a new post is made, and you can unsubscribe at any time.


Photo of Professor Alexandra Webb

Alexandra Webb

Associate Professor, Medical School, CHM, ANU

Associate Professor Alexandra Webb has more than 25 years’ experience teaching anatomy into undergraduate & postgraduate medicine, allied health & science programs in Australia & the United Kingdom. She has extensive proficiencies in leading the development & implementation of new curricula & resources. Dr Webb’s innovative educational practice has been recognised with multiple awards, including an Australian Award for University Teaching, Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, ANU Distinguished Educator and ANU Vice-Chancellor’s award for excellence in education. In her current role, she leads technology enhanced learning & teaching at the ANU Medical School. Her research encompasses clinical anatomy and education research.

Photo of Katherine Esteves

Katherine Esteves

Learning Designer, Medical School, CHM, ANU

Ms Esteves has extensive experience as a learning designer and multimedia developer that includes leading and managing multi-disciplinary teams in the higher education industry and IT-Web industry. She is skilled in implementing innovative educational technologies, developing detailed educational project execution plans and managing implementation processes. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Lillian Smyth

Lecturer in Medical Education, Medical School, CHM, ANU
Dr Smyth is an educational psychology researcher and lecturer in medical education at the ANU Medical School. Her research interests focus on social and educational psychology, working mainly on social influence, perceived norms and applications of social psychological theory to teaching and learning. Current projects explore tertiary learning approaches, academic discipline differences, research-led education, medical education, music education and the relationship between social identification and learning behaviour.



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