Courses HLP

Courses - Psychology of Human Learning and Preformance

3.4 Learning and instruction in schools (ESSBP3082O; 6 ECTS)

Introduction to the course

The most fundamental form of organized learning is learning in schools. At primary school, children learn basic skills like reading and arithmetic, whereas in secondary education, children learn a whole range of subjects to prepare them for higher or vocational education. In this course we look at what psychology has to say about learning in schools. First, we will focus on the basic skills of reading and arithmetic, from both a developmental as well as a cognitive perspective, and discuss how these perspectives can inform teaching methods. Second, we will look at the learning of subject matter. For more text-based subjects, like history, geography, or biology, the central question is how to make learners comprehend the materials. For more problem-based subjects, like mathematics and physics, the issue is how to teach learners to solve problems. Furthermore, we will have a closer look at the role of the teacher in classroom-based learning. What makes a teacher an effective instructor, and how should he or she interact with the classroom? Finally, during the whole course you will get assignments that help you in finding your own selection of scientific literature for the course.

Learning objectives of the course

  • Understanding of how children learn schools subjects, and how this knowledge informs instruction and teaching behavior.
  • Being able to find relevant scientific literature independently.

3.5 Engines for Learning (ESSBP3086O; 6 ECTS)

A learner is never a “tabula rasa”; he or she comes to a learning situation with ideas, expectations, intentions, cognitive resources, and learning habits that were developed and shaped during previous learning occasions. Some of these ideas and practices have been proven helpful, some others were abandoned because they did not seem to work that well.

The central question in this course is: What factors that learners bring to the learning process promote learning?

We will take a closer look at student’s “engines for learning” and discuss the influence of factors such as one’s conceptions of learning and knowledge as well as one’s intelligence. Furthermore, we examine the role of motivation (i.e., one’s intentions to study) and the importance of regulating your own study activities (i.e., self-regulation). Under what circumstances do these factors foster learning and when do they hinder effective learning?

Learning objectives of the course

  • Get acquainted with educational factors such as conceptions of learning & knowledge, intelligence, motivation, and self-regulation. Furthermore, you will familiarize yourself with recent research literature investigating these constructs.
  • Acquire insight on how and under which circumstances factors such as conceptions, intelligence, motivation, and self-regulation foster effective learning.

3.6 Learning Disabilities (ESSBP3090O; 6 ECTS)

Introduction to the course

What happens when learning in children does not come naturally? When do we speak of a learning disability? What happens in the brain of children with learning disabilities? What are the consequences of learning disorders for the development of a child? What are current theories on different types of learning disabilities? How can we determine if a child has a learning disorder and, maybe more important, what can we do about them?

All these questions will be dealt with in this course. Next to frequent learning disabilities in the areas of reading (dyslexia), spelling, and arithmetic, subjects like fear of failure, giftedness, education of children whose mother tongue is not Dutch, and emotional aspects of learning disabilities will also pass in review.

Learning objectives of the course

At the end of this course you will have extended your knowledge about the following topics:

  • Learning disabilities in general
  • Reading and reading disorders (dyslexia)
  • Writing and writing disorders, including spelling, handwriting, and written expression
  • Math and math disorders (dyscalculia)
  • Specific topics in the area of learning disabilities, such as mental retardation, giftedness, non-verbal learning disability, fear of failure, ‘black schools’, multiple disabilities, and the relationship between learning disorders and social emotional disorders.