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Unit information: Learning in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Learning
Unit code EDUCD0094
Credit points 20
Level of study D/8
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Reed
Open unit status Not open

Understanding Educational Research


Research Methods in Learning, Leadership & Policy

School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The unit will centre on developing understanding of the process of learning within a range of educational settings. The focus will be predominantly on socio-cultural perspectives of learning and how these relate to wider theoretical perspectives. The unit will allow participants to critically examine the relationship between teaching, learning and assessment within a range of educational settings as well as considering the two-way knowledge exchange between informal and formal learning. The substantive areas covered will include learning as mediated action, learning with new technologies and learning within institutional settings.


  1. to explore learning in the Vygotskian tradition and to critically apply these concepts to participants' own formal and informal contexts
  2. to develop understanding of learning in different educational contexts, including academic institutions, workplace and community
  3. to consider how to research learning and design appropriate plans, methods and stances in relation to inquiry
  4. to develop understanding of the role of mediated tools (including ICT) in learning.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Gain a grounding in key sociocultural and CHAT principles and a working familiarity with the key theoretical texts in this field
  • Apply an increased understanding of learning in educational organisations to one’s own context
  • Understand the role of mediation, learning through interaction, scaffolded and peer-assisted learning and the significance of tools and technologies (including ICT and assessment)
  • Review critically research on learning in a variety of contexts and the methodological approaches taken
  • Develop pedagogical and methodological competence in facilitating the design of learning situations.

Teaching Information

The unit is designed to be student-focused with an emphasis on active and experiential learning. Students will be encouraged and supported to reflect on and discuss the key ideas and issues raised by the unit in a variety of ways, using their own experience of teaching and learning to ground theoretical concepts.

Teaching and learning opportunities will include presentations, seminars, small-group work, independent inquiry and pair-work. Participants will be expected to take part in discussions, make presentations to the group and engage fully in activities. We will use the library as an inquiry space. The teaching room will be a site for seminars, group-work, discussion and presentation.

See pre-reading activities at the end of this programme for required preparation before the unit. There is an expectation that work will be undertaken in the evenings between taught sessions.

Assessment Information

The unit is assessed by means of a 4,000 word written assignment that is designed to consolidate and extend learning. You should use the pre-readings and further readings from the unit and draw on the texts given in the reading list.

Reading and References

  1. Bransford, J., Brown, A. & Cocking, R. (1999) How People Learn, Brain, Mind, Experience, and School, National Academy press, Washington.
  2. Rogoff, B. Goodman Turkanis, C. & Bartlett, L. (2001) Learning together. Children and Adults in a School Community. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  3. Sutherland, R., Robertson S, John P (2008) Improving Classroom Learning with ICT, Routledge
  4. Tomasello M (1999) The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA,
  5. Wells, G. & Claxton, C. (eds) (2002) Learning for Life in the 21st Century, Blackwell, UK
  6. Wertsch J (1999) Mind as Action, Oxford University Press