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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Learn about the changes that occur as humans grow and develop.

An understanding of human development is paramount for anyone working in, or aspiring to work in, counselling, psychology, psychotherapy and other caring and health roles.  

Study the theories of human development as proposed by some of the great psychology thinkers like Freud, Piaget and Erikson. See how we evolve from birth to old age and the conflicts and processes which can affect our health and wellbeing.

This course is useful for anyone wanting to understand more about human development, as well as those wishing to apply that knowledge in their day to day work.



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Become an Expert in Lifespan Psychology

Study this course in developmental psychology to learn more about how people change over their lifetime from infancy through to adulthood. Find out about key psychological and emotional challenges at different life stages.

Use this knowledge and apply it in your work and everyday life to better understand other people and the different challenges and difficulties they might be facing. 

Learn how people grow and develop through their lifetime. 

  • There are ten lessons in the course. Learn more about cognitive development, social development, adolescence, adulthood, childhood, late adulthood and the changes and challenges that occur throughout our lifetimes.
  • Cover interesting topics such as friendship, sexuality, parenthood, retirement and much more.
  • A great course for anyone interested in people.
  • A useful addition to your CV for anyone interested in working with people.


There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Theoretical approaches and key concepts
    • Lifelong growth, nature/nurture theories ...psychodynamic, behavioural, social cognitive, cognitive, lifespan
  2. Early childhood
    • Cognitive & social development in the first 6 years
    • Genetics, personality, cognition, recognition, memory, social relationships;
  3. Middle childhood
    • Cognitive, moral & social development in the school years
    • Motor skills, cognitive and language development, relationships with family and peers, moral development
  4. Challenges of middle childhood
    • School and learning, sense of self, achievement, peer pressure, family breakup, grief and trauma
  5. Adolescence
    • Cognitive, moral and social development
    • Cognitive development, moral development, identity, relationships with family and peers;
  6. Challenges of adolescence
    • Sexuality, peer groups, identity vs role confusion, trauma, depression, values and meaning
  7. Adulthood
    • Cognitive and psychosocial development in early and middle adulthood
    • Sexuality, parenthood. work and achievement, moral reasoning, gender roles, cultural perspectives, adult thinking
  8. Challenges of adulthood
    • Marriage and divorce, grief, depression, parenting, dealing with change
  9. Late adulthood
    • Cognitive and psychosocial changes in the elderly
    • Intelligence, learning and age, physiological influences, cognitive abilities, personality changes, relationships
  10. Challenges of late adulthood
    • Loss, mourning, depression and elderly suicide, aging brain ... dementia etc, integrity vs despair, loss of independence.

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.

  • Learn key theories and concepts in the study of developmental psychology;
  • List major ethical concerns when studying development, and one step a researcher can take to reduce each;
  • Identify cognitive and social aspects of a small child’s development and some key inherent and external influences;
  • Describe the phases of language acquisition in infants, and what can adversely affect it;
  • Describe major cognitive, moral and social developments in middle childhood and how they influence behaviour
  • Compare short term memory with long term memory in middle childhood, and discuss how this affects the child’s ability to learn;
  • Identify common psychological challenges faced by children from ages 6 to puberty;
  • Reflect on your own success and failure experiences, and your own sense of competence in middle childhood. Consider how they affected your perceptions of yourself as you matured;
  • Identify areas of change that will affect adolescent behaviour and thinking;
  • Explain post formal thought, and consider how it can contribute to an adolescent’s ability or willingness to make moral choices;
  • Identify challenges common to adolescence, and ways to deal with them;
  • Explain individuation. Discuss its importance, and how it can both challenge and complement group identity;
  • Identify changes that can occur in early and middle adulthood and influence behaviour;
  • Explain K. Warner Schaie’s ‘stages of adult thinking’ and explain why Schaie’s model might be more relevant to understanding adult cognition than Piaget’s cognitive model;
  • Identify some key challenges faced in adulthood and ways of coping with them;
  • List some changes that are typically associated with ‘midlife crisis’. Discuss both negative and positive aspects of ‘midlife crisis’;
  • Identify effects of physiological changes and life experience on the aged person’s cognitive and psychosocial experiences;
  • Explain how ‘cognitive plasticity’ can affect an older person’s ability to learn despite brain cell loss;
  • Research depression and suicide among the elderly;
  • Research ways that an older person can be made to feel more independent and automonous.
  • Consider in your response what family members can do to respect the older person’s need for autonomy.
Learn more about how people change and develop throughout their lifetimes.
Study the human development process from birth to old age.
Click here if you have any questions OR enrol today and find out more about the rich topic which is human development.
Development is Affected by What We Learn
Learning is a natural part of life; and it starts at the beginning of one's life. 
Learning is affected by both our environment and our genetics. Learning affects psychological development; and the way we develop psychologically then, in turn, affects how and what we learn.
Everyone starts life by learning to eat, crawl, walk, run, sit, talk, play and lots of other things; before ever being confronted by what we think of as “education” or “teachers”. 
Research proved long ago that more of a child’s learning is a result of play, than a result of any sort of “formal” teaching. 
We acquire essential survival skills in the early years of life, through this informal learning that happens before we go to school. Without that early learning we might not know how to eat, navigate the world or communicate with others. We cannot live as independent people if we do not learn and know how to deal with the world.
While everyone who learns these basic skills does progress past early childhood; we don’t all learn them in the same way or as well as each other.
“Much depends on the encouragement and positive results of early years as motivators for children trying or continuing to learn. A recent TV program highlighted how the use of a dog in the classroom as a mascot gave children in a school unconditional love and rewarded them with positive results when they tried to teach it tricks. Then end result was they became inspired to learn more themselves, became more confident and even were inspired to read books on dog training and dog behaviour.”
Consider one child who is taught to eat at the table, with a knife and fork, at the same time each day, accepting a healthy and varied diet, and chewing their food many times before swallowing. Compare this with a second child who learns to eat whatever they want, wherever they want and whenever they want.
The first child may be learning things subtly, beyond what the second child learns. The first child is learning:
  • to use their hands with greater skill, ( because they are using a knife and fork)
  • to manage their time (because they need to fit into a schedule)
  • to look after the nutrition of their body
  • to have a broader understanding of dietary possibilities; which in turn support a broader perspective on the wider world


Benefits of Studying This Course

This course helps you to better understand how people develop, through all ages of life. Having a heightened awareness of developmental psychology is a big advantage when dealing with people in any capacity. It helps you understand work colleagues, clients, friends and family members. It is a very valuable tool for teachers, managers, counsellors and welfare workers; amongst many other professions.
If you need to understand people better; this course can help.





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Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Tracey Jones (psychology)B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies) Tracey began studying psychology in 1990. She has a wide range of experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects. She has been a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work and has also written many textbooks, blogs, articles and ebooks on psychology, writing, sociology, child development and more. She has had also several short stories published.

Check out our eBooks

The Brain and BehaviourThe Brain and Behaviour ebook provides a fascinating insight into the functions of the human brain. From understanding the human brain, human anatomy & behaviour, chemistry, brain damage and memory, this ebook is an interesting read and also a great reference for students of biology, biopsychology or psychology.
Counselling HandbookA book for both students, as well as volunteers who may be involved in helping people with problems. This is a starting point for understanding counselling, and a reference for developing counselling skills. The book contains seven chapters: 1. Where can counselling be used 2. How to see behind the mask 3. Emotions and attitudes 4. How to communicate better when all you have is words 5. Theory versus practice 6. Diffusing difficult situations 7. Golden rules or tips
How Children ThinkAnyone who has ever tried to make a child do anything (clean up their mess, desist from throwing mud, stop drawing on the walls) knows that children think differently to adults. This book attempts to provide the skills and knowledge to develop a greater understanding of children.
The Environment of PlayFull of inspiring colour images of playgrounds around the world, this book is ideal for designers, park managers, schools and parents! First published in the USA in 1982. Used in the past as a university text (in landscaping and education degrees). Completely revised in 2012. Full of inspiring colour images of playgrounds around the world, this book is ideal for designers, park managers, schools and parents! Play is the most important and effective method of learning for adults as well as children. It can be active or passive, planned or spontaneous. If you want to learn about the relationship between PLAY and the ENVIRONMENT, this is the ebook for you.