Independent learning during the school closures: new online course entitled “How to Be a Successful Learner”

Ulm University

Due to corona-related school closures, many children and adolescents currently have to work through their school material on their own. Without any guidance from teachers, they organise their daily learning routine at their own desk by themselves, which can easily lead them to feel overwhelmed and result in concentration difficulties. Ulm University is now offering a new online course to assist schoolchildren, from the 5th grade on, in becoming successful learners. The offer is free of charge and has been developed by experts from the Department of Learning and Instruction.

The online course provides schoolchildren with age-appropriate and scientifically sound knowledge on the topics of learning and self-organisation. In a series of short videos, adolescents are presented with learning strategies that they can immediately try out on small tasks and exercises. Examples of such tasks include making an index card box, creating mind maps and planning out future learning behaviour, which of course includes a well-organised learning area. “Now, we obviously want to maintain the motivation level that the adolescents already have, rather than causing any additional learning stress, so the course can be interrupted at any time and picked up again later on”, explains research assistant Dr Daniel Schropp, who helped develop the new programme.

Online course to be continued as schools re-open

Prior to the corona crisis, researchers at Ulm University were already dealing with learning strategies and self-organisation. The online course can therefore build on previous projects such as “Clever Learning”. The offer is free of charge and is connected to thesis projects for teachers in training. Throughout the online course, university students will be monitoring participants to determine if they are actually able to increase their knowledge of learning and improve their learning strategies. To this end, students will be evaluating completed tasks and interviewing course participants. The course will be improved based on these results, and it will continue to be offered even after schools have resumed. After all, as didactic experts know from years of experience, many children and adolescents are in need of help with improving their learning behaviour, as they were even before the corona crisis.

The online course “How to Be a Successful Learner” is held on Moodle, the learning platform used at Ulm University. For further information on login details and instructions for use, please send an email to lernprofi(at)

Media contact: Annika Bingmann

Online learning course
A schoolchild participants in the online course “How to Be a Successful Learner” (Photo: Daniel Schropp)