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Educational Psychology

Course CodeBPS105
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Understand how People Learn 

Educational psychology is concerned with understanding how humans develop in terms of language, memory and learning processes and how to apply that knowledge to learning environments. Children at different stages of development respond better to different educational approaches. Some approaches are best suited to groups and others to individuals.

Apply what you learn here in a range of learning environments

Study this course to find out about different approaches to teaching and learning and their benefits or disadvantages in different situations.

This course will help you to understand how and why people learn, and how to apply that understanding to bring about changes in people of all ages.

During the course you will study -
  • Learning and developmental theories
  • Stage theories
  • Information processing
  • Memory
  • Memory strategies
  • Memory loss
  • Constructivist learning
  • Motivation
  • Cognitive Dissonance and more

This course will benefit a wide range of people, including:

  • parents in developing a better understanding of how their children develop
  • teachers, training officers or any other educationists involved in the education of children or adults
  • welfare workers or recreation officers (voluntary or professional) in developing a better understanding of the educational development of persons they deal with.

"I found the course interesting, challenging, and rewarding" J. Beer

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Development & Learning Theory
    • Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development; Schemes; Assimilation and Accommodation; Equilibration; Piaget’s Stages of Development.
  2. Behavioural Learning
    • The Evolution of Behavioural Theories of Learning; Thorndike’s Theory of the Law of Effect; Skinner’s Theory of Operant Conditioning; Principles of Behavioural Learning; Reinforcers; Positive and Negative Reinforcement; The Premack Principle
  3. Information Processing
    • Information Processing Theory; A Model of Information Processing; Perception; Gestalt Psychology; Attention; Short-Term Memory; Long-Term Memory; Division of Long-Term Memory
  4. Memory Retention & Loss
    • Remembering and Forgetting; Interference; Inhibition and Facilitation ; Primacy and Recency; Learning Strategies
  5. Individual Needs
    • Effective Instruction;The QAIT Model; Quality of Instruction; Appropriate Levels of Instruction; Incentive;Time; Between-Class Ability Grouping; Within Class Ability Grouping; Effective Use of Ability Groups; Mastery Learning; Outcomes-Based Education; Individualised Instruction
  6. Constructivist Learning
    • What is the Constructivist View; Top Down or Bottom Up Processing; Generative Learning; Discovery Learning;Reception Learning; Activating Prior Knowledge
  7. Motivation
    • Intrinsic Motivation; Extrinsic Motivation; Factors Affecting Motivation, Motivation Theories (Behavioural Learning Theory; Human Needs Theory; Dissonance Theory; Cognitive Dissonance Theory; Personality Theory; Attribution Theory; Expectancy Theory); Improving Motivation (Nurturing Interest/Curiosity; Providing Incentive to Learn)

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Discuss theories of development and learning.
  • Explain behavioural theories of learning
  • Describe how Information Processing Model Works
  • Describe processes involved in memory loss and retention
  • Describe different methods of effective instruction to cater for individual needs.
  • Explain the relevance of constructivist learning in education
  • Differentiate definitions of motivation and the application of motivation to learning

How Do We Learn?

There are a variety of different models and theories that underpin our understanding of educational psychology. 

One concept was published by American education theorist David Kolb, in 1984. His work underpinned theories in experiential learning, learning styles dimensions. He later published work calling it a learning style inventory.  Kolb’s theory is mainly concerned with the internal cognitive processes of the learner. He stated experiential learning is knowledge relating to, or resulting from, experience. 
Kolb identified that there are two very different activities involved in the learning processes:   
  • Perception: people perceive things in different ways. Some people learn effectively by using their physical senses, such as hearing, seeing, smelling, touching or feeling, which is largely via the senses and hands on experiences. Others may better perceive something in a more abstract way through mental or visual conceptualisation. For example, Claire may learn well by recording her notes and listening to them in audio form, whilst Jake may find that they learn best by writing down his notes over and over again. Bob may learn best by simply reading a book, whilst Barbara may require a mixture of visual and audio notes. 
  • Processing: Once something is perceived, it needs to be processed. Again, different people prefer to process it different ways (e.g. some by application, or doing something tangible with the information, others simply by thinking about it).
Kolb argued there were six main characteristics to experiential learning.  So learning is: 
  1. A continuous process that is grounded in experience.
  2. Best considered as a process, rather than considering in terms of the outcomes.
  3. A holistic process of adapting to the world around us.
  4. Involved with transactions between the environment and person. 
  5. The process of creating knowledge as a result of the interaction between personal and social knowledge.
  6. The resolution of conflict between conflicts of opposed modes of adaption. Learning is full of tension due to the conflicts involved with the process of learning.
The Four Stage Experiential Learning Cycle
Kolb’s experiential learning theory works on two levels which are: 
  • The four learning styles (dimensions)
  • A four stage learning cycle
His experiential learning style theory is represented as a four stage learning cycle. In the cycle the learner will cover all areas. So for effective learning, the person progresses through the four stages and may repeat it. 
These are:
1. Concrete Experience (Feeling)
A concrete learning experience is when the person has an experience or does something. Learning from experience and how we relate to other people. It also involves being sensitive to the feelings of others.
2. Reflective Observation (Watching)
A reflective learning observation is when the learner reflects or reviews the experience they have had. Observing then giving considering consideration to how the same thing may be seen differently, in different contexts. This type of learner will look for the meaning of things.
3. Abstract Conceptualisation (Thinking)
Abstract Conceptualisation is when the learner learns from or concludes the experience, so learning from experience. Learning as a result of logical analysis. So the person aims for an intellectual understanding of any situation.
4. Active Experimentation (Doing) 
The active experimentation stage is when the person puts that experience and knowledge into practice, trying out what they have learned.
Learning from both mistakes and successes by taking risks and doing things. 

If you would like to learn more about educational psychology, the theory behind it and how this can improve your own work and career prospects, then enrol now to learn more about Educational Psychology.


Benefits of Studying This Course


This course will benefit a wide range of people, but especially those wishing to adopt the principles of educational psychology in an educational setting:

  • Teachers in a classroom
  • Supervisors in a workplace
  • Instructors in a gymnasium
  • Life coaches, business coaches, sports coaches
  • Consultants
  • Trainers


Meet some of our academics

Lyn QuirkM.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.
Tracey JonesWidely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).

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