A research group of the School of Education.
In rather general terms, educational psychology is concerned with how humans learn. Learning is a complex and non-linear process of intra-individual change in mental processes (incl. thinking, remembering, and feeling) and behaviour that takes place in formal and non-formal contexts across the life span, is impacted by a wide range of person characteristics, and is facilitated through social interaction. Research in educational psychology studies the complex interplay between learner characteristics, learning content, and learning context. It develops and utilises theories and methods from cognitive, personality, social and developmental sciences but also psychometric assessment to describe and explain psychological processes related to learning with the ultimate goal of contributing to the optimisation of learning and teaching. In doing so, research in educational psychology is well positioned to effectively overcome the false dichotomy of research being either basic (i.e., primarily interested in furthering our understanding and theory building) or applied (i.e., primarily interested in solving a specific problem).
At Durham University’s School of Education research topics addressed in the thematic cluster Educational Psychology currently include but are not limited to:
- The assessment of learning ability (Jens Beckmann)
- Cognitive flexibility (Jens Beckmann)
- Complex problem solving (Jens Beckmann)
- Personality change (Nadin Beckmann)
- Non-intellective determinants and outcomes of learning (Nadin Beckmann)
- Behavioural difficulties (incl. inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity) (Peter Tymms, Christine Merrell)
- Higher level thinking (particularly creative and critical thinking) (Lynn Newton)
- Problem finding & problem solving (Lynn Newton)
- Affect & learning (Julie Rattray)
- Achievement motivation, emotion and emotion regulation (Stephanie Lichtenfeld)
- Assessment and treatment of emotional and behavioural difficulties (Joe Elliott)
- The nature of learning and cognitive disabilities and effective approaches to intervention (Joe Elliott)