The importance of learning strategies and how the project ‘Kolumbus-Kids’ promotes them successfully

In education systems learners are expected to possess an increased degree of autonomy and show initiative in learning processes, inspecting learning materials and understanding contents. An efficient growth of knowledge inside and outside of school is only possible if students have skills which initiate, guide and control the search for information and later on its processing and storage. In learning and teaching research these techniques are called learning strategies. They are necessary for students to use in order to foster their application of results in education. Since 2006, the Bielefeld University project “Kolumbus-Kids” has been promoting scientifically gifted learners by inviting selected students of regional schools to participate in interesting sessions dealing with biological problems and phenomena at university. The sessions are designed and held by university students. So far, this project is a unique concept in Germany in terms of Biology Didactics aiming at an adequate support of students gifted in natural sciences. During the sessions, we noticed that many students are not able to use learning strategies successfully as they had not learned them in school. The paper at hand intends to provide the reader with a brief overview of the project and the six different types of learning strategies defined by Mandl and Friedrich (cf. Mandl & Friedrich 2006). It shows how our project supports the students' learning strategies and also presents some inspiration for applications in day-to-day science teaching. Fostering and improving your students' learning strategies is important for them in order to learn successfully.