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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Find out about the link between development and learning.

Children go through different stages of development and along with each stage they develop cognitively, as well as emotionally and psychologically. What a child is capable of learning at age 4 is quite different to that of a 10 year old.    


  • Learn how to support students with learning difficulties in this 100 hour distance learning course.   
  • Learn more about how students learn and the ways in which we can help them to learn better. 
This course is a must for anyone working in the educational environment or who would like to work in education!


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Discover Better Ways of Teaching

Study our Educational Psychology course to learn about psychological principles involved in education. Discover how language and memory are involved in learning and how to motivate students of all ages.

Study educational psychology and increase your understanding of the psychological principles and theories involved in learning. 
  • Do you want to improve the way you help students learn?
  • Do you want to understand more about how people learn and how to make their learning more effective?
  • Do you want to help students who may be experiencing difficulties?

If you answered "Yes" to any of the above questions then this course is probably right for you.

  • The course covers seven lessons in 100 hours.
  • You work at your own pace and learn about: development and learning theory, information processing, memory, individual needs, motivation, constructivist learning, and more.
  • This course is a must for anyone working in, or interested in working in, education! Teachers, training officers, welfare workers, counsellors, parents, recreation officers, supervisors and managers will all benefit from increasing their knowledge of educational psychology.


Student Comment: My tutor is very positive and encouraging. The entire staff of ACS has been incredibly helpful and kind. Yvonne (Canada)



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.


  • 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
Education Starts by Understanding Learning 

Learning is a complex process. We can understand it from a behavioural perspective in terms of responding to environmental stimuli or observing and mimicking. We can also use biological perspectives to explain the neuronal aspects of learning. In this way, learning may be viewed as strengthening connections between neurons and memory could be seen as strengthening particular synapses.   

Our brains begin to mature in the womb. They continue to mature throughout our lives, but everyone’s brain does not mature at the same rate.   Our bodies develop at different rates. Children reach puberty at different ages, so our brains are no different.  A group of children of the same chronological ages will not necessarily mean that they will all have the same readiness and ability to learn the same topic, skill or idea.  Teachers and parents should be aware of this and use this to design strategies to work with children.  

Children all learn in different ways. The maturity of a child's brain is a factor in learning differences, but it is not quite that simple. How a child learns depends on their age, brain maturity and level of development. There is also an influence from temperament, environment and genetics.  

How is Memory Organised?

One of the most useful models for understanding memory was proposed by Lezak (1995). This is a three stage model, although the second stage has two or three parts, comprised of the following stages:

1 Attentional stage - registration
Sometimes called sensory memory, large amounts of information are held here for up to 2 seconds. Really it can be considered to be neither strictly a memory function, nor a perceptual one. Rather, it is a bit of both. If the information is not passed to short term memory it dissipates.

2 a) Immediate memory
This is often called working memory. It is where information is chosen to be retained by registration. It is only retained here temporarily, in reverberating neural circuits. Only as many as nine pieces of information can be held here before passing to more permanent storage. It lasts around 30 seconds to as long as several minutes unless it is sustained by rehearsal - the next stage.  

2 b) Rehearsal 
Information may be kept in immediate memory for more than a few minutes if it is rehearsed.

2 c) Intermediate memory
This is different to immediate memory because information stored here can last for several hours to a couple of days. However, it is still not stored permanently yet. It is thought that it may involve a biochemical rather than electrophysiological mechanisms. Information here is still prone to interference but is relatively more permanent.   

3  Long term memory
This is sometimes called remote memory or learning. It is organised on the basis of meaning rather than the sensory properties associated earlier stages of memory. Once these memories are encoded they are quite resilient to disruption. There does not seem to be a localised site in the brain for storage of long term memories. Instead, they would appear to involve neuronal connections from a range of cortical and sub-cortical centres. The formation of long term memories  seems to be a biochemical process in which proteins are synthesised in neurons.


Effective Learning Needs to be Long Term

People who fund education (e.g. politicians, administrators, and even parents), tend to have a focus on "results" when considering education. They want value for the money being spent; and they will most often measure results in terms of how well students are being assessed. The problem with exams and other assessments though is that they may only be measuring short or intermediate term memory. To get a proper evaluation of any education, it may require time and patience; and this is a fact that is often just not understood.

Why Study This Course?

Educational psychology is relevant to not only teachers, but anyone and everyone who has an interest or concern in education. By understanding the psychology of education, you are in a far better position to influence education; whether as someone who works in that industry, or just someone who is concerned for some other reason.



Learn more about the theories of educational psychology and how they can be practically used in the educational environment.
Help children to improve their learning experience.
Learn to motivate students and encourage them to want to learn.
Use the theories and principles of psychology to improve your work with students.
Increase your own job and career prospects in the process.






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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

LearningA book to help students learn and to discover better learning techniques. There are lots of different techniques for learning. Most work well for some people, but not for others. If you understand the way in which a particular individual is most likely to learn, you can better determine the most appropriate learning techniques for them to use. This book helps you understand both the theory and the practical solutions that can help improve learning whether at home, at school, at work or at play.
LeadershipWhat makes a good leader? Is it an innate personality trait or a skill that can be acquired? This book is an excellent guide to the theories and practice of leadership. It is full of interesting facts about social dynamics and examples of leadership styles. For those who are curious or in need of some leadership skills, this book will provide both entertainment and advice.
Professional Practice for ConsultantsExplore becoming a consultant. This ebook contains chapters on how to be a consultant, packaging your services, delivering the services, building your resources, finding the work and getting the job, planning and ethics.
Psychology DictionaryThis book provides explanations for common terms used in Psychology.