Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module EDUC40330: Psychology of the Learner

Department: Education

EDUC40330: Psychology of the Learner

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To have critical understanding of psychological processes in relation to learning and teaching.


  • The module will focus on key psychological theories and constructs relevant to individuals in a learning context. This will include theories and constructs such as motivation, self-esteem, self-efficiancy, anxiety and attributions. It will ask students to critically consider the validity and utility of such theories/constructs in a range of educational settings. Methods for assessing such constructs will be introduced and the theoretical basis to them will be critically evaluated. The role of psychological theorising within a wider educational perspective will be discussed and the mediating nature of culture and context will be considered. A critical analysis of relevant research and its implications for practice will form one of the major themes of the module.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students will be able to:
  • Describe and critically evaluate constructs relevant to the psychology of the learner.
  • Give a critical analysis of how such constructs can be assessed.
  • Articulate the impact of cultural and contextual factors on psychological constructs related to the learner.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Critically analyse key research relating to the psychology of the learner and discuss how it can inform practice.
  • Reflect on how an understanding of psychological processes related to the learner would inform their own thinking and practice.
Key Skills:
  • Through their essays students will demonstrate the ability to:
  • undertake a search and synthetic review of research literature,
  • summarise and critique research-based literatures;
  • communicate ideas effectively, both orally and in writing, to an advanced level;
  • learn independently.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Through lectures and seminar teaching supported by Study Guide resources. The Study Guide includes preperation for and follow up on teaching activities. This directed independent work is an important part of the module. Lectures enable the ideas of the module to be considered. Seminar work enables students to develop their understanding of the ideas and consider them in a range of professionally relevant contexts. Activities in seminars include a variety of active learning approaches including discussion, group work, presentations, question and answer sessions, individual tasks. A Bulletin Board on DUO enables staff and students to continue their interaction between teaching sessions. Preperation for the assignment involves students in wide reading and critical reflection on ideas of the module.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 7 1.5 hours 10.5
Seminars 7 2.5 hours 17.5
Directed tasks in study guide and via DUO 6 5 hours 30
Preparation & Reading 242
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assignment 5,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Verbal feedback is given to students' contribution during class teaching sessions. Staff can be contacted for individual help. Written formative feedback is provided for the academic outline of the assignment.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University