Educational Psychology -BPS105

What is Educational Psychology?

From a literal standpoint, one could argue that the study of learners, learning and teaching, is all subsumed under the heading ‘educational psychology’. For those who wish to adopt the principles of educational psychology in an educational setting, this definition can be expanded to include the knowledge, wisdom and everyday theory that every teacher requires in order to resolve the dilemmas that occur teaching on a daily basis.

Discover how to help other learn

Through studying this course you can find out how to teach people of all ages to get the best possible learning outcomes.

  • Understand how people of any age learn
  • Apply your knowledge in educational settings from child services to staff training

The course will be helpful wherever job roles involve daily interactions where some element of teaching or instruction is provided.

Course Content and Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction -Development and 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
    • Motivational 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

Course Aims

  • 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

Piaget’s stages of development

Piaget suggested that individuals pass through four distinct stages of development each representing more complex intellectual abilities.

Sensorimotor stage (Birth to 2 years)

Emergence of the concept of ‘object permanence’ i.e. knowledge of the existence of an object when it is out of sight..

Change from reflexive to goal directed behaviour.

During this stage, there is a close interplay between the baby's motor activity and its sensory perception.

During the Sensorimotor stage (0-2 years), play is primarily "exploratory". Some basic symbolic acts also occur after the first year. It is however mainly half way into the second year before symbolic play becomes prevalent. During symbolic play, a child learns that one thing can represent another (eg. sitting on a log, a child can pretend that they are riding a horse).

  1. After the second birthday, a child becomes like an "actor" in his own theatre. This is called "pretend play", and it is largely through such play that a child moves towards becoming socialised. For instance, a girl may begin to play nurse with her doll. Later on she might act as the doctor and her friend as the patient.

It is not surprising that at the age of two, the child begins to understand social relationships a little more, instead of being self involved and egocentric like the younger infant.


Egocentrism (Egocentric) The sense of being the centre of everything, that our own view is the most important.

Play is not an idle pass time for children; in fact, it is essential to a full and balanced development of the person. Moreover, child therapists claim that play can be a very healthful way for children to deal with stress, which explains the use of dolls and toys during remedial therapy. Play can represent a kind of language that the child uses, in place of verbal language that has not fully developed. Anyone who frequently deals with children should encourage a variety of play, and should be receptive to what the child is learning through play; or even what message the child is trying to convey though play.

Pre-operational stage (2 to 7 years)

The child develops the ability to use symbols to represent objects in the real world.

Their thinking is self-centred or egocentric.

The child has the "new" skill of language, and this ability to use words allows development in a way that was not previously possible. Language allows the child to learn that an object can represent something that it is not (pretend games can become more feasible). At a latter part of this stage, conversation skills will develop rapidly.

Piaget did make a further sub division in the first stage.

The Pre-conceptual period (2-4 years). Focus is on symbolic substitution (eg. a child substitutes a block for a car);

The intuitive period (4-7 years). Focus is on classifying things into categories (eg. apple is a fruit, carrot is a vegetable). Child develops an understanding of certain principles of conversation.

Concrete operational stage (7 to 12 years)

At this stage, children begin to learn about rules and relationships between people and things around them. They then learn to manipulate or operate according to these rules or restrictions. They begin to be able to use reversible operations and their thinking becomes more logical and less self-centred.

Formal operational stage (12 years and older)

In this stage, the child develops the ability to think in abstract terms about philosophical and ideological issues. There is the development of abstract thoughts.


How This Course Could Help You

Graduates may use this course as a first step toward becoming a professional teacher, trainer or lecturer; but for others this may be a way to start something new or enhance something you are already doing in your life, for example:

  • Music teacher
  • Life coach
  • Language teacher
  • Adult education teacher
  • Youth leader
  • Workplace trainer
  • Teacher's aide 
  • Tour guide
  • Product demonstrator


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PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $781.66  1 x $710.60
B 2 x $416.96  2 x $379.05

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