An Intervention with the Learning Companion

With the Learning Companion, we aim to help future students acquire efficient study habits and metacognitive skills which are important for lifelong learning.


The Learning Companion ( is an online tool that has been actively developed at EPFL since 2017. The Learning Companion seeks to help students acquire effective learning strategies. After the learning strategies are self-assessed, students receive feedback and a link to a Massive Open Online Course. The respective learning strategies are also described in the book “Apprendre à étudier, Guide à l’usage des étudiants en sciences et en ingénierie” (Tormey & Hardebolle 2017). The tool consists of three different modules, one focusing on study habits, a second on effective problem-solving, and a third on multidisciplinary project work.


This project builds primarily on the first two modules – learning habits and effective problem-solving. There is broad consensus in research that metacognitively aware students are more strategic and successful, in other words, more sustainable learners. Metacognition refers to “thinking-about-thinking” and includes, among other things, planning how to work on tasks, controlling attention, monitoring the learning process, or evaluating it. However, many students are not aware of the various metacognitive processes and/or have inappropriate learning strategies for tertiary-level learning.


At the three partner universities (EPFL, PHBern, BFH), an intervention is being conducted to investigate whether students can be trained in their metacognitive skills, whether these lead to better learning performance, and how metacognitive skills and learning performance is influenced by digital competencies. Specifically, we test whether triggering metacognitive reflection before and while doing exercises is as efficient as simply doing more exercises. Triggering metacognitive reflection might be achieved e.g., by asking them to evaluate a previous exercise session or think about how they could explain their reasoning process to a friend. We hypothesize that there won’t be a difference in learning outcomes between the two groups, however, those who did the metacognitive reflections might learn some self-regulating skills that are transferable to other subjects and courses and that might benefit the students in the long run in their academic careers.


Previous project:

Learning Companion


Beteiligte Personen

Beteiligte Institutionen