Non-Degree / Dates: 24-27 July 2018

School-children from Estonia and Finland consistently rank among the most competent children from any country – but their motivation to learn is lagging. Why is this, and what can we learn from some of the highest achievers in the world?

This course is taught by researchers from Estonia and Finland who have conducted several longitudinal studies about children’s development and learning. The Estonian and Finnish school systems are quite similar, but a few differences provide good opportunities to compare the role of specific factors in learning. Examples will be given from different areas: teacher practices and styles, reading and math development, and the role of interest and motivation in learning.

The course will begin with an introduction to the theoretical basis and a discussion of methodological issues in studying development and learning. This will be followed by an introduction to studies that have examined both child-related and contextual factors that may either support or inhibit academic learning and well-being.

The practical part of the course will include brief seminars on learning-related beliefs and learning strategies. These informal seminars will focus on giving a short introduction to the psychological bases of each strategy. We will discuss misconceptions about beliefs and efficiency of different learning styles. Homework is related to specifics of education in each student’s country of origin or choice.

Why this course?

  • You will explore the unique educational differences among two of the world’s top-performing nations.

  • You will explore common misconceptions and false beliefs around different learning styles.

  • You will gain insight from an international panel of renowned researchers and educators.


Eve Kikas, Professor of School Psychology, Tallinn University, Estonia.
Piret Soodla, Senior Research Fellow, Tallinn University, Estonia.
Minna Torppa, Finnish Academy Research Fellow, University of Jyväskylä , Finland.
Eija Pakarinen, Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
Kaja Mädamürk, PhD student and Junior Research Fellow, Tallinn University, Estonia.
Grete Arro (PhD in psychology), Researcher, Tallinn University, Estonia.
Elina Malleus, PhD student and Junior Researcher, Tallinn University, Estonia.
Kati Aus, PhD student and Consultant of Educational Psychology, Tallinn University, Estonia.
Teri Talpsep, PhD student and Junior Research Fellow, Tallinn University, Estonia.
Anna Kuznetsova, PhD student, University of Tartu.

Read more about the course teachers and their research interests here.


Classes take place from Tuesday to Friday, please see also the full programme.


This course is specifically tailored for doctoral students and their advisors. However, anyone is welcome to enroll, especially those with an interest in psychology, education, and/or social work.

Credit points

Upon full participation and completion of course work students will be awarded 2 ECTS points and a diploma of completion.

Course fee

Enrollment is free.

NB! Accommodation and meals are for an extra fee.


General Contact (Registration, accommodation, cultural programme, etc):

Information about the course content: Dash Stanford –

Projekti “TLÜ TEE ehk Tallinna Ülikool kui targa eluviisi eestvedaja”  (nr 2014-2020.4.01.16-0033) tegevus 110_TAR16061TD42  Käitumis-, sotsiaal- ja terviseteaduste doktorikool