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Educational Psychology

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

Discover what makes Learning more Effective.

Understand how and why people learn, and how to apply that understanding to bring about changes in people of all ages. This course will benefit a wide range of people, from parents (understanding of how their children develop) to teachers/trainers and welfare workers or leisure professionals (eg. fitness leaders, life coaches, youth leaders).

Comments received from our Educational Psychology students:

"I found the course very interesting, challenging, and rewarding"

" I have never found the staff at any other learning institution as supportive as the staff at ACS. This gives one a lot of peace of mind and confidence to go on - at every squeak from my side, you guys have always been there, immediately to sort me out. The feedback on my lessons has always been really good and meaningful and an important source of my learning. Thanks!..."     

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction -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
    • 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)

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.

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

How is Information Processed by a Student?
 
Information processing theory is a cognitive theory that attempts to explain how knowledge is processed, stored and retrieved from the mind
 
A model of information processing
When information first enters memory, it is considered that it enters the ‘sensory register’.   All information entering the senses is held here briefly e.g. smell, touch , taste. We process information, determine whether to respond and whether or not to store information for retrieval at a later date. 
 
Our response may just be an observation 
Eg. Allowing us to appreciate a flowers scent.
 
 
Information received may also create a more demanding response
Eg. If we smell smoke we may have to respond to the danger of a fire.  
 
If nothing happens to information it is discarded.
 
 
Therefore the information entering the sensory register must be attended to if it is to be retained.  In addition, it takes time to recall all the information seen in a moment into consciousness.  Hence if people are bombarded with information and are not told which aspects they should try to remember, they may not retain any information at all.
 
 
 
Consider; when using a phone contacts list, you can call repeatedly without remembering a stored number.  You know you don’t need to remember it. If remembering it was important; you would purposefully memorise the number as you dialled it. After several repetitions you would then easily retain it in your memory. 
 
Another example is when at a social function you are introduced to many people. Without focussing on people’s names and a conscious effort to remember names; you are unlikely to remember those names.
 
Information that passes through the sensory register is stored in short-term memory, where it may be processed before passing in to long-term memory.
 
 
 
Perception
 
Perception is vital to our understanding of the world around us.  This is an individual’s interpretation of stimuli. As we receive information about the world through our senses, perception is the process that allows us to create meaning from the information received. Perception of information is often more relevant than the information itself. 
 
Everyone’s perceptions are uniquely individual, depending on different factors, for example: 
 
 
 
Past experience 
 
Depending on past experiences perception can be dramatically influenced. 
Eg. Consider two children.  
One has a friendly, cuddly pet dog that the child loves and spends a lot of time with. 
Another’s only experience with dogs is being attacked.
The sound of a dog’s bark or sight of a dog running at a child means very different things to each of these children. 
 
 
In relation to education, a student’s previous experience at school or during training may have an effect on their current studies. 
Eg. Someone with a negative experience at school (ie. unable to achieve; being ridiculed), may perceive a new task as more difficult than it really is due to prior learning experiences. Vice versa, someone who previously found a task easy at school, and was praised; may approach a new task perceiving it to be easier.
 
 
 
Previous Knowledge 
 
Our previous knowledge shapes the way we perceive information.
Eg. We see a car accident and someone has pulled an unconscious person out of the car, laid them on the ground and started applying CPR. Having knowledge of First Aid we perceive them as helping, however without knowledge of First Aid, the delivery of mouth to mouth resuscitation and chest compressions may not look like something that is helping the victim.
 
 
In an educational setting, previous knowledge plays a big role in our perception. 
Consider an uneducated student faced with a difficult algebra equation. They perceive and understand the problem very differently to someone who has previous knowledge of algebra. Likewise in any subject, perception of the current information is greatly changed and enhanced by previous knowledge.
 
 
 
Culture 
 
A person’s culture can have a dramatic effect on their perception. People’s cultural traditions and religions can have a big effect on perception.
Eg. In traditional or religious communities an unmarried mother may be perceived poorly, however in modern society they may be perceived in a neutral or positive light. 
 
 
Racism can be another result of cultural influence on perception.
Eg. If a culture is antagonistic to another racial group, your perception of actions of someone from that racial group will be more negative than your perception of someone from your racial group.
 
The same applies for different social groups,
Eg. Rugby players versus surfers, or business men versus farmers.
 
In education a teacher must be aware of cultural differences that may affect the perception of students. That may affect the students’ ability to learn. 
Eg. Australian Aboriginal culture considers it rude to look people older than you in the eye. In western culture, children who do not  look teachers in the eye may be perceived as being rude, lying or devious. 
 
 
Cultural perceptions of education also affect a students’ perception and consequently behaviour at school
Eg. In countries where school is a privilege, students may perceive study more positively, hence attend to teachers better than their counterparts in a western world where school is enforced.
 
 
 
Mindset 
 
A person’s mindset at a given time can have an effect on their perception. Consider being tired or sick, you may perceive something very differently than when you feel happy or vibrant. 
Eg. If your hair is criticised when you are tired or sick you may perceive this as an attack on you; and consider yourself to be useless and ugly and the other person to be mean and horrible.
 
If the same thing happens when you feel happy and vibrant you might perceive the comment to be provoked by jealousy prompted by your own good looks.
 
 
Your perception can also be dramatically affected by extreme tiredness, stress, alcohol and drug use. Your mental processing will be reduced and this can change the way you perceive things.
Eg When driving a car, under influence of drugs, you are less likely to see a stop sign, or to perceive   danger of driving through it without stopping.
 
 
With education it is worth considering the affect of  mindset on perception of information being presented.
Eg. When under stress during exams, students may not be able to process any new information.
 
 
 
Impairment  
 
Impairments can have an effect on perception, and each individual’s impairment can have a unique impact on their perception.
Eg. Someone who is blind can’t perceive visual stimulation, but may have heightened hearing and capacity to perceive more subtle changes in auditory stimulation. 
 
 
With education teaching tools may need to be modified to ensure students can process the information.
 
 
 
We take heed of specific stimuli in accordance with rules that have no bearing on the stimuli itself. The more relevant the stimulus is, and the greater consequence it has on you, the more attention you give it. For example, if you are indoors and it is raining outside you may not pay it a great deal of attention (no relevance or consequence).
 
If, however, you had washing out on the line you would pay a great deal more attention (relevant because the rain will affect you, and the consequence is your washing will get wet).
 
Also we record the information as we know or assume it to be rather than as we perceive it, e.g. we may only see the edge of a door but we infer the whole door.
 


Meet some of our academics

Gavin ColeB.Sc., Cert.Garden Design. Landscape Designer, Operations Manager, Consultant, Garden Writer. He was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up his own landscaping firm. He spent three years working in our Gold Coast office, as a tutor and writer for Your Backyard (gardening magazine) which we produced monthly for a Sydney punlisher between 1999 and 2003. Since then, Gavin has contributed regularly to many magazines, co authored several gardening books and is currently one of the "garden experts" writing regularly for the "green living" magazine "Home Grown".
Jade SciasciaBiologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager. Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Dip.Professional Education, Cert IV TESOL, Cert Food Hygiene.
Rosemary Davies Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing
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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