Introduction to Learning

School of Psychology

College of Life and Environmental Sciences


Code 08641

Level of study First Year

Credit value 10

Semester 1

Module description

Topics to be covered:
1. History and background to behaviourism
2. Classical conditioning
3. Operant conditioning
4. Observational learning
5. Explanations of problem behaviours: fear and phobias
6. Therapeutic applications of learning theory
7. Ethical aspects of behavioural research and interventions
8. Critique of learning theory and theoretical developments

On completion of this module the student should be able to:
1. Describe the historical evolution of the behaviourist perspective.
2. Use the appropriate terms to describe and define classical and operant conditioning.
3. Describe the behavioural implications of learning, and the contexts and conditions in which learning most readily occurs.
4. Describe the theoretical basis for therapeutic interventions for problem behaviours.
5. Explain the ethical implications of behavioural interventions.
6. Describe the limitations of learning theory.
7. Evaluate the impact of learning theory on our current understanding of mental health and behavioural problems.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and workshops