The Learning Sciences: Innovating Education

Edel Sanders

The aim of this course is to consider some of the current issues in education, interpreted through the multidisciplinary lens of the Learning Sciences. The Learning Sciences is a new academic field interested in investigating learning in a variety of settings (including schools, museums, and homes) to better understand how to facilitate learning in meaningful ways. Some of the questions that we’ll explore include: What is knowledge and who decides what knowledge is valuable? How might research on the brain inform our understanding of learning? What is the role of collaboration in learning? Does IT really enhance learning? This course is centred around the key readings and practical applications, whereby students will be actively engaged in class.

This course is aimed at: Individuals interested in considering some of the important questions in thinking about the various components that impact learning in formal and informal settings.

Pre-requisite knowledge required: There are no particular pre-requisites for the course other than interest in the topic areas. Students might find introductory course work in psychology and/or child development useful. Students without experience are expected to familiarize themselves with a background reading list prior to the start of the course.

Transferable knowledge and skills: Taking this course will help students develop a range of skills, including those of reasoning, argument, critical analysis, research and communication.

Core readings: IMPORTANT Students taking this course must purchase their own copy of Byrnes, J.P. (2009). Cognitive development and learning in instructional contexts (3rd Ed.). London, UK: PearsonIt is strongly recommended that it is bought in advance of travel to Cambridge as sufficient copies will not be available for all students in local shops and libraries.


  • Final Essay. 45% (2,000 to 3,000 words)
  • Final Exam, 45%
  • Participation, 10%


Lecture hours: 12 x 1.25 hours (15 hours total)

Seminar hours: 8 x 1.25 hours (10 hours total)