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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2022/2023

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Education

EDUC40330: Psychological Perspectives on Learning

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2021/22


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To develop a critical understanding of psychological processes related to learning in educational contexts.


  • The module will focus on key psychological theories and constructs related to the learner as an individual situated in context. It aims to provide a solid foundation from which to study learning as a psychological phenomenon by introducing a range of learning-relevant cognitive and non-cognitive constructs (e.g. memory, cognitive abilities, motivation, self-regulation, emotion, or personality) and by exploring their role across different educational settings. Common misconceptions and myths that can lead to suboptimal educational practice will be addressed. 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 have acquired fundamental knowledge and understanding of:
  • main psychological theories and concepts related to learning;
  • methodologies typically employed in psychological research to study learning.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module, students will be able:
  • to critically reflect on main psychological conceptualizations of learning;
  • to use appropriate psychological terminology to describe learning processes;
  • to critically reflect on key research relating to the psychology of learning and discuss how it can inform practice.
Key Skills:
  • Through their performance in the assignment as well as their contributions in class, students will demonstrate the ability to:
  • undertake a search and systematic review of research literature,
  • summarize, synthesize 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 resources on the virtual learning environment (VLE). 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, and individual tasks. Preparation for the assignment involves students in wide reading and critical reflection on ideas of the module. The success with which students have acquired knowledge and a critical understanding of psychological processes related to learning in educational contexts is assessed via a 4000 word written assignment. In addition to verbal feedback given to students' contributions during class teaching sessions the preparation for the summative assessment is supported by the opportunity to receive formative feedback on an outline of the assignment.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 8 1 hour 8
Seminars 8 2 hours 16
Preparation & Reading 276
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assignment 4,000 words 100% Yes

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