Theories of Learning & Development - EDU00025M

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Nadia Mifka-Profozic
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

The aim of this module is to provide the opportunity to reflect critically on key theories of learning and development, and to ground such theories in the actual contexts of teaching and learning.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2019-20

Module aims

To purpose of this module is to provide students with the opportunity to learn about and reflect critically on key theories of learning and child development, and to ground such theories in the actual contexts of education. Over the course of nine weeks, in class and small group discussions, as well as via oral presentations, students will review the major contemporary theories of learning and development, and consider them in relation to learning and teaching that happens both in school and out of school. Students will be encouraged to position the various theories discussed in relation to each other, and to apply an understanding of the theories to the actual teaching and learning across a range of educational contexts. In this way they are expected to begin to understand the relationship between development, learning and education.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

  • Review a number of theories of child development in relation to learning
  • Position the various theories discussed in relation to each other
  • Apply an understanding of the theories to the actual learning of children in nursery, primary and secondary schooling
  • Begin to understand the relationship between development, learning and education

Academic and graduate skills

  • Formulate arguments and contribute to discussion
  • Develop academic writing skills
  • Participate in individual and group work, presentations, and peer-teaching activities
  • Demonstrate effective planning and time management
  • Word-process, manage files, use-email, VLE and the Web
  • Undertake empirical and literature research

Module content

Week 2 :

This session will present an overview of learning theories going back to the 20th century.

Week 3:

This session will look at behaviourist theory and its applications in education, drawing on the work of Burrhus Skinner.

Week 4:

This session considers Piaget’s theory of cognitive development.  Particular attention will be paid to the educational implications of Piaget’s theory, especially how Piaget’s work is viewed today.

Week 5:

This session considers Bruner’s theory of culture, mind and education which sees learning and education as cultural processes.  

Week 6:

This session considers Vygotsky’s sociocultural view of cognitive development and discusses the social sources of individual thinking, cultural tools and cognitive development and the role of language and private speech.  

Week 7:

The session considers definitions of intelligence and discusses Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.  The relationship between intelligence and achievement will be explored.

Week 8:

This session considers Lave’s theory of situated learning and Wenger’s theory of social learning.  Particular attention will be paid to the implications of the theories for professional learning in organisations such as schools and universities.

Week 9:

This session focuses on theoretical issues and explanations in relation to motivation (i.e. ways of motivating students to learn).  

Week 10:

This session will focus on Bloom’s taxonomy of learning.  Some time will be also spent on drawing connections between the various theories encountered in this module.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
3500 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

The word length for this essay is 3,500.

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
3500 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive feedback in a range of ways throughout this module. This will include oral feedback in class, responses to posts on the VLE discussion board and written comments on work. You will have the chance to obtain feedback on your writing during the module, and you will have a short one-to-one meeting with a module tutor to discuss assessments.

You will be provided physical written feedback on assignment report sheets as well as them being readily available on the VLE. The feedback is returned to students in line with university policy. Please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

Indicative reading

Illeris, K. (2009). Contemporary theories of learning: Learning theorists in their own words. London: Routledge.
Schunk, D.H. (2004). Learning theories. An educational perspective. Columbus, NJ: Pearson-Merrill Prentice Hall.



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.