Student Program

The Learners for Life Series

Mini Online Courses for Grades 7-9

A series of courses designed to help middle school students build lifelong learning skills.

GOA’s Learners for Life series is specifically designed to support students in grades 7-9 as they develop the critical learning and life skills for success in middle school, high school and beyond. As a GOA member school, your community is invited to partner with us in these mini online courses at no additional charge.

This series provides schools with a structured, professionally designed program for approaching a variety of essential skills that schools aim to develop in students, but that may not fit neatly into schedules, curricula, programming or staffing plans. Our theme-based curriculum has been developed in consultation with leading experts and educators. GOA designs and builds the courses, provides a trained facilitator or facilitator team, and one or two asynchronous expert speakers per course. Each module is five days long and requires approximately three-four hours of total asynchronous engagement from students.

Teachers who enroll their students are supplied with guidelines and a checklist for how to prepare themselves and their students for the experience. A distinction from GOA flex courses is that affiliated teachers in Learners for Life courses play an active role in delivering the learning experience and managing student engagement. Affiliated teachers are invited to participate in a pre-course Zoom with GOA facilitators, will join a teacher-only discussion space for support and resource sharing during the course, and are provided with ideas for an enduring student learning as the course concludes.

Please review the FAQ section below prior to registering.

Learning to Learn Online (Middle School)

January 5-8 or 12-15, 2021

Image of Course Dates: Jan. 5-8 OR 12-15, 2021

For nearly a decade, Global Online Academy has been empowering students to build the skills they need to thrive and engage with the topics they care about the most. Learning to learn online is a skill that should be developed intentionally, rather than left to chance, through a process of behaviors and habits that help students focus on content and experiences, not the tools used to deliver them. In this course, inspired by GOA’s student orientation, students will evaluate their previous approach to online learning and set goals for the year ahead through self-observation, conversation, and personal reflection. Each day of this four day course will cover a key skill related to learning environment, navigation and planning, getting help, and being an active learner. Students will join in a global conversation where they will learn about, share and apply each skill to their own setting. By the end of the course, students will have created a personal toolkit of resources, reminders, and their own online learning commitments to be used independently or shared with a teacher.

Affiliated teachers in the middle school Learning to Learn online will be supplied with a teacher playbook for the course, complete with facilitation tips, guidelines on how to best prepare their students and their courses for the experience. Affiliated teachers play an active role in the co-facilitation of Learners for Life courses, offering support and guidance to their own students as they work through each day. Teachers will need to be familiar with course content and their role in advance.

Who is this course for?

This course is appropriate for students in grades 7-9. The personalized nature of this course makes it perfect for any learner context including a class, a grade level, a study skills or advisory program. While the design of this course encourages teachers to bring a group of students and integrate course topics into their learning environment, individual students are also welcomed to enroll.

There is a high school version of this course which will cover the same key skills in a more robust online format, relying less heavily on affiliated teachers to co-facilitate and more on students to independently navigate the experience. Teachers of ninth graders are invited to choose the experience that best suits their needs.

The Learning Brain

January 18-22, 2021


How well do our students understand their own brains? Students who better understand the workings of the learning process have more durable learning outcomes. This five-day course introduces students to effective methods for approaching their own learning, both in the classroom and when they are studying outside of class. The course leads students (and their teachers!) through a variety of metacognitive exercises designed to have them examine their own behaviors and approaches to learning, how successful they are and how congruent they are with what the literature says about how learning happens. Students will also examine the ways they organize their lives to accomplish real learning in the digital age. At a high level, the course approaches how students create the habits, routines and capacity for reflection that are supported by cognitive and behavioral science. Students in this course act on what they learn about their own brains in the context of their classes.

Digital Ethics

February 22-26, 2021


Never before have students had so much information at their fingertips and never before have they been so empowered to take actions that will affect others in very real ways. But with all of this agency comes the responsibility to behave ethically online and off and to expect the same of others. What is the right balance between privacy and openness? How can we avoid being manipulated or having our personal data become someone else’s “product”? How can we make good decisions about the interactions that we have online? What are the right and wrong ethical decisions we can make about the media that we consume online and its effects on society? The global nature of the classroom brings into clear focus just how culturally conditioned many of these questions are. Building on the Designing Excellent Questions course, students in this five-day course will focus on how they can live more ethically in our digital world.

Completed Courses

Stay tuned for future offerings!

Designing Excellent Questions

October 5-9, 2020


It’s no secret to experienced educators that students in grades 7-9 often struggle to get their essays and projects off the ground because they have difficulty formulating just the right question. This course helps students meet that challenge. Drawing on many of the ideas laid out in Warren Berger’s book A More Beautiful Question: Using Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, and a series of design thinking protocols, students in this course workshop their research questions in preparation for upcoming projects in their classes. They also work to develop more effective questioning techniques to drive their own learning on a day-to-day basis. After this course, your students will have the tools to identify, define, and evaluate the quality of their own questions, helping them avoid weeks of floundering in pursuit of vague research questions.

Growth, Grit, and Gratitude

November 16-20, 2020


In this five-day course, students will design a personalized wellness toolkit packed with life hacks that will serve them well throughout their time in school and beyond. They will identify their strengths, use them when faced with a challenge, and explore strategies to change the way they think to affect how they feel and act. The course will be framed around three concepts: growth, grit and gratitude. Students will explore and develop their ideas of what it means to live life with purpose, a sense of power over how they think and feel, and the ability to create and sustain a sense of well-being. Students walk away from this module with an understanding of actions they can take to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Have more questions?

GOA is hosting informational synchronous meetings for teachers who have registered or are considering registering their students. These optional sessions will include an overview the course and a facilitated Q&A. Learn more and register here.


How many students can a member school enroll?

As many as they want. Our recommendation is to run this program across an entire grade, for example.

What is the cost to enroll?

Enrollment is free for all GOA organizational and professional learning members.

Do I have to sign up for the entire series?

No: you may enroll students in as many courses as you like.

Can a non-member school enroll students?

Not at this time.

Can teachers enroll their entire classes?

Yes. In fact, Learners for Life courses are designed to be teacher-supported, so we recommend enrolling an entire class.

Can we run these courses on different dates on our own?

Not at this time. To encourage interactions across schools, we ask all participants to take the courses during listed dates.

Can parents and teachers take these courses?

For schools that plan to enroll 100 or more students in all five courses, GOA will create an accompanying 1-2 hour asynchronous program for adults for each of the five courses. This allows you to extend the conversation into the wider learning community at a faculty meeting, parent coffee, PTA meeting etc. Adult programs include the recorded expert speaker sessions, some curated materials and an opportunity to engage asynchronously with the course facilitation team.

Who are the facilitators for these courses? What is their role?

These courses are designed and facilitated by experienced GOA faculty members. Throughout the course, you and your students will hear from them through videos, emails, and other tools.

I am a teacher considering enrolling my class in a Learners for Life course. What is my role in the course?

A teacher signing up students is designated as an “affiliated teacher” in the Learners for Life courses. Affiliated teachers are active partners in facilitating the learning experience for their students. GOA designs the learning experience, creates content and provides coaching and support opportunities to affiliated teachers as they coalesce the course into their existing curriculum.

Affiliated teachers will join their students in the course, receive all course communications, will have access to resources and recommended strategies for extending course concepts, and will be asked to complete a feedback survey after the course concludes. The learning experience is led by a GOA facilitator and the affiliated teacher will help present the content to their own students.

What is the time commitment for most learners for life courses?

These courses are short, typically 4-5 days long. Courses are designed for student engagement of approximately 30-45 minutes a day, though teachers may take advantage of the flexible format to structure their students’ learning in a way that best suits their needs within the timeframe of the course.

The learners for life course timing does not work for my class schedule. May I access the content and use it at a time that works for me or my students?

To protect the intellectual property of our teachers and the intended collaborative and global atmosphere of our courses, we cannot provide special access to the learners for life course materials, outside of the dates the course is intended to be open. Courses will remain accessible to participants for a week after the course ends.

Is there a limit to how many or how few students can sign up for a learners for life course at a time?

No, there is no limit to the number of students allowed in each learners for life course. These courses are designed for a large, global audience. We encourage affiliated teachers to enroll all of their students in a given class in our mini courses, and incorporate the experience into their regular class meetings.

When will enrollment close for upcoming Learners for Life courses?

Enrollment closes the Wednesday before the course begins.

Can I bulk enroll groups of students?

Yes! Please read this guide carefully, checking that you have maintained correct formatting for the headers and the drop down data. Please list a maximum of one parent and one affiliated teacher per student. The system will not interpret commas in the bulk upload sheet (a “comma-separated value” (CSV) file) as a list of similar items, so please do not include them. Please contact if you encounter difficulties.

Are grades and feedback provided to students in learners for life courses?

No: GOA and course facilitators do not provide grades or feedback, although many affiliated teachers choose to assess their students’ participation and engagement in our flex courses.

Do participants receive a certificate of completion?


How long will the Learners for Life course remain open after it ends?

Courses remain open for one week after they end.

Want to learn more about the series? Let's talk.

Contact us