The University of Southampton
Courses

PSYC3048 Human Learning

Module Overview

The aim of this unit is to outline the basic learning mechanisms that allow us to organise our behaviour and adapt to our environment. One of the essential ingredients for successful organisation and adaptation is the capacity to anticipate impending events so that we can plan appropriate actions. In addition, we must respond to the effects of our behaviour on our environments. Learning about the consequences of our actions allows us to adapt our behaviour to produce advantageous outcomes. Without the ability to anticipate and adapt, we would not, for example, be able to learn to avoid unpleasant and potentially harmful events, nor would we know which of our actions produced pleasant or beneficial effects. This course aims to introduce students to current debates on the psychological mechanisms of learning and examples of the application of learning theory to applied problems.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

By the end of the course students should understand some current models of learning, be able outline their historical development, and be able to critically evaluate those models by identifying specific strengths and weaknesses. Research and critical thinking skills will be developed alongside presentation skills necessary to effectively communicate complex material.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • By the end of the course students should understand some current models of learning, be able outline their historical development, and be able to critically evaluate those models by identifying specific strengths and weaknesses. Research and critical thinking skills will be developed alongside presentation skills necessary to effectively communicate complex material.

Syllabus

Coverage will include aspects of classical and operant conditioning, decision making, and reasoning. Areas of application will also be considered, for example, how can addiction be understood in terms of classical and operant conditioning? Teaching methods employed include seminars, experimental demonstrations, private study, student group work, and presentations.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

• Contact Hours: 22 hours • Private Study Hours (Recommended): 128 hours The course is delivered in a weekly double lecture slot for one semester, excluding the final reading week. It is supported by a Blackboard website which includes course outline, reading list, formative MCQs, lecture slides and external links. 1. Seminars: Students will be provided with a series of seminars which introduce relevant material for each of the three major parts of the course a) foundations (conditioning and associative learning), b) advanced topics (cognition and reasoning), and c) applications (e.g. skill acquisition, education, addiction). 2. Experiment demonstrations: Classroom demonstrations of simple experiments are used at several points in the course to introduce topics and illustrate particular points. The results are presented and used to introduce/highlight key topics. 3. Worksheets: Classroom sessions using simple worksheets to show the mathematical workings of learning models. 4. Presentations : Students will prepare presentations based around key papers for each part of the course. 5. Group work: The experimental demonstrations and presentations will be carried out in groups to give students experience of working together and learning from their peers. 6. Private study will be required to prepare for classroom sessions and assessments. Key papers will be identified to provide starting points for private study.

TypeHours
Independent Study150
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Haselgrove, M., & Hogarth, L. (2012). Clinical Applications of Learning Theory. 

Anderson J.R. (2000). Learning and memory: An Integrated Approach. 

Gluck, M.A., Mercado, E., & Myers, C.E. (2008). Learning and Memory: From Brain to Behavior. 

Lieberman, D.A. (2012). Human Learning & Memory. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 40%
Exam  (2 hours) 40%
Presentation 19%
Research Participation Scheme 1%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: (PSYC1004 AND PSYC2006) OR (PSYC1016 AND PSYC1017)

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