General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title The science of learning
Language English
Module lecturer prof. UAM dr hab. Katarzyna Zawadzka
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position
Faculty Faculty of Psychology and Cognitive Science
Semester 2024/2025 (summer)
Duration 30
USOS code 23-PIE-SOL


Module aim (aims)

The aim of the module is to provide students with up-to-date knowledge regarding how learning of new information, storing this information in memory, and retrieving it when necessary are determined by how our memory and metamemory operate. To this aim, we will explore the newest research regarding topics such as: assessing the effectiveness of learning strategies; evidence-based learning strategies: testing, spacing, encoding and retrieval variability; metacognitive insight into one’s own learning; control over learning and retrieval; educational myths. Note: The focus of the module is not on teaching students how to learn, but on giving them research-based tools to figure it out themselves.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Ideally, previous knowledge of the basics of cognitive psychology (although this is not a strict requirement), as well as research methods and statistics


Week 1: Introduction to the study of memory.

Week 2: Desirable difficulties: why easy learning = poor learning.

Week 3: The retrospective testing effect: tests as a learning method (for the tested information).

Week 4: The prospective testing effect: tests as a learning method (for information presented after the test).

Week 5: The spacing effect: how to schedule revisions (and why).

Week 6: Variability of encoding and retrieval.      

Week 7: Metamemory in educational settings: why we are poor at assessing how we learn and what to do about it.  

Week 8: Summary and conclusions.        

Reading list


  1. Carpenter, S. K., Pan, S. C., & Butler, A. C. (2022). The science of effective learning with spacing and retrieval practice. Nature Reviews Psychology, 1, 496-511.
  2. Chan, J. C. K., Meissner, C. A., & Davis, S. D. (2018). Retrieval potentiates new learning: A theoretical and meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 144, 1111-1146.
  3. Soderstrom, N. C., Yue, C. L., & Bjork, E. L. (2016). Metamemory and education. In: J. Dunlosky and S. K. Tauber [Eds.] The Oxford Handbook of Metamemory. (pp.197-216). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  4. Weinstein, Y., Madan, C.R. & Sumeracki, M.A. (2018). Teaching the science of learning. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 3, 2.