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“Watching the backstage of your mind”: Redesigning Learning How to Learn

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A Correction to this article was published on 05 April 2023

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Digital learning, and MOOCs specifically, increasingly benefit from learning-science-based design. In this study we present the redesign process that produces a new academic version (in Hebrew and Arabic) of the successful MOOC Learning How to Learn. During the design-based research we examined practices that implement evidence-based principles from the learning sciences in real-life digital learning, and created a course that not only teaches about learning but also practices what it preaches in its learning experience. Our digital practices address neural, cognitive-emotional, meta-cognitive and behavioral aspects of learning, and they include designing the course as a modular network, increasing embodiment in the media design, and presenting varied models of lifelong learners, which include the course team themselves. The redesign addressed pressing issues in online learning, such as international versus culturally-sensitive teaching, high MOOC drop-out rates, “transactional distance” and online versus blended formats. We present an array of techniques that create a model for a MOOC with maximal adequacy between the theoretical concepts it teaches and its design, applicable to digital learning in other areas.

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Data availability

Data on MOOC enrolment and students’ achievements in the original LHTL is available at Coursera (presented here courtesy of Prof. Barbara Oakley). Data on MOOC enrolment and achievements in the Hebrew LHTL is available on the Campus IL platform for the MOOC’s administrators.

Change history


  1. The course was developed at Tel Aviv University, with the Center of Innovation in Teaching and Learning, supported by the Council for Higher Education in Israel, and is presented in the national platform Campus IL < > 

  2. The Original LHTL on Coursera < > 

  3. See more Examples of embodied typography in this video from a sub-unit on the Imposter Syndrome: < > 


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We thank Prof. Barbara Oakley for her generous collaboration and thoughtful comments.

We thank the Center of Innovation in Teaching and Learning at Tel Aviv University and Campus IL for their kind support. We thank the anonymous readers of this work for their comments that enabled us to enhance our arguments.

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Authors and Affiliations



This is a collaborative research. NA is the chief investigator in the DBR process. MMA is the researcher and developer of media design. OKF is the researcher and developer of the academic writing section.

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Correspondence to Nana Ariel.

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Ariel, N., Millikovsky-Ayalon, M. & Kimchi-Feldhorn, O. “Watching the backstage of your mind”: Redesigning Learning How to Learn. Educ Inf Technol 28, 9709–9730 (2023).

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