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Unit information: Cognition and Learning in 2021/22

Unit name Cognition and Learning
Unit code EDUCM0042
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Howard-Jones
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit provides students an opportunity to learn about and critically evaluate fundamental principles and knowledge in the domain of cognitive psychology. Students will critically examine research methods appropriate to the study of cognition. Sessions will be provided to evaluate key concepts and formative support will be provided for the assessment. Students will also study key applied issues in the development of cognition, such as the development of language, and the role of cognition in educational attainment.

Core concepts include: 1) memory; encoding and retrieval processes, working memory, autobiographical memory, episodic and semantic memory; 2) language: acquisition, structure, comprehension, production; 3) attention: top-down, bottom-up, selective and divided attention, multitasking and perceptual experiments; and 4) cognition and learning in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


  • To develop an understanding of cognitive psychological processes.
  • To examine how such cognitive processes underpin behaviour.
  • To review research in cognitive psychology, including the methods by which data are collected, analysed and interpreted.
  • To develop a critical awareness of theories and models of cognitive processes and the evidence that supports them.
  • To develop skills in reading cognitive psychological research.
  • To make links between the brain, cognition and behaviour.
  • To apply knowledge of cognitive processes to educational domains.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit students will be able to demonstrate that they:

  • Understand key concepts in the current study of cognitive psychology.
  • Have developed skills in the evaluation and interpretation of psychological research on cognition.
  • Understand the importance of biological, social and psychological factors in cognitive psychology.
  • Have explored the way in which different approaches to cognitive psychology relate to and complement each other.
  • Are able to critically interrogate claims about cognitive psychology in the educational literature.
  • Understand the implication of recent psychological research on cognitive psychology for classroom practice.
  • Are able to evaluate the relevance of cognitive psychology for educational policy and innovation.

Teaching Information

This unit will be taught using a blended approach consisting of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous activities including lectures, critical analysis of key readings, and group discussions.

Assessment Information

Summative assessment:

The assignment (2,000 words) for this unit requires production of a critical review of current research on a topic in cognitive psychology and its application to education. Within this review, students will be required to demonstrate their understanding of concepts addressed in the unit and their ability to construct and provide evidence for an appropriate argument.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EDUCM0042).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.