Interdisciplinary Research shaping the Future of Learning

The Future Learning Initiative (FLI) leverages and builds upon our existing strengths in secondary and higher education to develop the world’s leading centre for research in the science of learning and advance ETH’s reputation as the globally leading learning institution.

FLI brings together more than 20 professors from 10 departments with the goal of synergizing existing expertise, while simultaneously accelerating impact through coordinated inter-departmental and inter-disciplinary collaboration.

Our goal is to transform the higher education system by:

  1. Understanding the nature of formal and informal learning as a complex phenomenon across multiple, interacting levels: neural, cognitive, embodied, social, and cultural;
  2. Translating research into practice, first at ETH Zurich and then at the gymnasium, by designing cutting-edge applications in domain-specific learning, learning environments & technologies, and learning & data sciences;

The initiative seeks to advance the science of learning through:

  1. one new tenure-track assistant professorship on STEM learning;
  2. a center for engineering education; and
  3. an interdisciplinary set of projects, such as neuro-embodied basis of physics concepts, mixed reality learning environments in medical and bioengineering education, physical spaces and learning, interdisciplinary in life sciences education, embodied learning and gaming, enhancing abstract mathematical cognition, learning of ethics, as well as several longitudinal projects.


CVE Simulation for Differential Diagnosis

Ethics Education

Neural Bases of Physics Learning

Advancing Interdisciplinarity in Life Science Education

Storytelling in Biology Education

Learning of Quantum Chemistry

Embodied Interaction for Mathematics Learning

Project-Based Learning Centre for Electrical Engineering


Principal Investigator

Manu Kapur


Elsbeth Stern


Christoph Stadtfeld


Christoph Hölscher

FLI Colloquia

To enable robust exchange of ideas, all members of the FLI regularly attend a monthly colloquium, where doctoral students, post-docs as well as visiting scholars present ongoing work of their projects. Regular exchange of this kind is important for developing boundary-crossing projects and a joint scientific identity.

Starting from September 2021, the FLI Colloquia will be part of the ETH course catalogue. Students will be able to attend the FLI Colloquium for 0.5 ECTS credits for each semester. In order to get their credits, students have to either present their research in a 30min talk followed by 15min Q&A or critically evaluate one or more talks in the form of a short essay.

FLI colloquia take place on the last Fridays of the month during spring and autumn semesters and are hosted by Prof. Manu Kapur. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the FLI Colloquia will be held virtually on Zoom.

Dates and content:

25th February 2022

Exceptionally: 16:15 – 18:15

Learning Chemical Concepts from Haptic Feedback: A Qualitative Study
Charlotte Müller, doctoral student at the Professorship for Learning Sciences and Higher Education, ETH Zurich
Individual Differences in Learning with Digital Scaffolds in Secondary School Mathematics
Prof. Sarah Hofer, Assistant professor of Learning and Technology, ETH Zurich

25th March 2022

Informal Learning Spaces
Dr. Beatrix Emo and Grégoire Farquet, Chair of Cognitive Science, ETH Zurich

More information coming soon

29th April 2022

Problem-Solving in Computer-Based Virtual Environment Simulations Prior to Instruction for Differential Diagnosis in Medical Education
Christian Fässler, doctoral student at the Professorship for Learning Sciences and Higher Education, ETH Zurich
Grasping Mathematics with Embodied Interaction in Virtual Reality: The Case of Derivatives
Julia Chatain, doctoral student at the Game Technology Center and the Professorship for Learning Sciences and Higher Education, ETH Zurich

20th May 2022

More information coming soon

Time: 15:15 – 17:15 (s.t.)

Zoom link: will be provided after registration. Please contact Sara May ( for a registration without earning the 0.5 ECTS credits.

More information on the FLI colloquium can be found in the ETH course catalogueIf you have any questions, please contact Sara May.

Group of students in a lecture

Image (ETH Zürich / Alessandro Della Bella)