Minimizing of total tardiness is one of the most studied topics on single machine problems. Researchers develop a number of optimizing and heuristic methods to solve this NP-hard problem. In this paper, the problem of minimizing total tardiness is examined in a learning effect situation. The concept of learning effects describes the reduction of processing times arising from process repetition. A 0-1 integer programming model is developed to solve the problem. Also, a random search, the tabu search and the simulated annealing-based methods are proposed for the problem and the solutions of the large size problems with up to 1000 jobs are found by these methods. To the best of our knowledge, no works exists on the total tardiness problem with a learning effect tackled in this paper. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.