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Study information

Understanding Learning: Global Perspectives

Module titleUnderstanding Learning: Global Perspectives
Module codeEFPM004Z3
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Sharon Morgan (Lecturer)

Dr Caitlin Kight ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

The purpose of the module is to explore theory and practice related to learning in both formal and informal educational contexts. The module will introduce you to a wide range of issues relating to learning and will consider the theoretical basis, research and global perspectives and how these inform educational policy and practice. You will also critically consider the applicability of theory and research to your own learning experiences and those of learners across the life course.

This is core and therefore compulsory module for all students undertaking the MA Ed (online) programme and will be completed entirely via distance learning.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The principle aim of this module is to facilitate critical examination of a range of issues related to learning in a global context. In relation to these issues, you will consider theories of learning, international research, relevant policy, individual and cultural differences and how this informs learning in practice.

This module will examine key questions such as:

  • What is learning?
  • How do people learn?
  • How do learners develop?  
  • How do we assess learning?
  • How can learning be supported?
  • Does learning differ between individuals and groups, and across time and setting?
  • What key factors hinder and facilitate learning?

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. demonstrate a critical understanding of how ‘learning’ may differ according to context
  • 2. critically evaluate different theoretical perspectives on learning
  • 3. demonstrate a critical understanding of current global issues in learning

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. critically reflect upon and evaluate your own understanding of current issues in learning and those of others
  • 5. consider the relationship between educational theory, research, policy and practice
  • 6. critically evaluate research evidence related to learning

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. synthesise and organise ideas to present an argument
  • 8. engage in critical, reflective debate
  • 9. consider the application of theoretical ideas, policy positions and research implications to educational practice
  • 10. undertake both directed and independent study to recognise, justify and analyse key ideas in the literature and relate these to research, theory, policy and practice

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary over time, it is envisaged that the syllabus will consider a range of issues that relate to learning in different ways and consider how theory, research and policy inform the issues and how individual, group and cultural differences are seen in educational practice. Content is likely to include:


  • What is learning and how does it link to cognition and knowledge, including thinking skills and memory?
  • Theories of learning and development which attempt to explain learning across the lifecourse and in varying educational contexts, including constructivism and neuroscience.
  • Individual differences in learning and research evidence in relation to this, including motivation and special educational needs.
  • How learning assessed and what are the issues? Including testing and progress.
  • How does learning change according to age and setting? Including the notion of lifelong learning and formal versus informal learning
  • What factors facilitate and hinder learning? Including student voice, motivation and collaborative learning.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities4812 x 4 hours per week of online seminars
Guided independent study48Preparatory work for taught seminars (including reading; research tasks; collaborative tasks)
Guided independent study104Completion of directed study tasks integral to the taught seminars
Guided independent study20Completion of formative assignment tasks
Guided independent study80Completion of summative assignment tasks

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written Assignment 1,500 words 1, 5, 7, 9Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written Assignment904,000 words1-9Written and grade
Engagement log10Eqiuvalent to 500 words10Grade

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written AssignmentEssay (4,000 words)1-98 weeks
Engagement logEngagement log (equivalent to 500 words)108 weeks

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Cuevas, J. (2015). Is learning styles-based instruction effective? A comprehensive analysis of recent research on learning styles. Theory and Research in Education13(3), 308-333.


Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K.A., Marsh, E.J., Nathan, M.J. and Willingham, D.T. (2013). Improving

students’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and

educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4–58.


Gillies, R. M., & Boyle, M. (2010). Teachers' reflections on cooperative learning: Issues of

implementation. Teaching and teacher Education, 26(4), 933-940. 


Hickson, H. (2011). Critical reflection: Reflecting on learning to be reflective. Reflective Practice,

12(6), 829–839. 


Howard-Jones, P.A. (2014). Neuroscience and education: Myths and messages. Nature

Reviews Neuroscience, 15(12), 817–824.


Kearney, M., Schuck, S., Burden, K. and Aubusson, P. (2012). Viewing mobile learning from a

pedagogical perspective. Research in Learning Technology20(1), 1–17.


Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J., & Clark, R. E. (2006). Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: An analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching. Educational psychologist41(2), 75-86.


Krahenbuhl, K. S. (2016). Student-centered education and constructivism: challenges, concerns, and clarity for teachers. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas89(3), 97-105.


Lachman, S.J. (2010) Learning is a process: Toward an improved definition of learning. The

Journal of Psychology 131(5), 477–480. 


Marshall, C. (2017). Montessori education: a review of the evidence base. npj Science of  

Learning2(1), 11.

Pintrich, P. R. (2002). The role of metacognitive knowledge in learning, teaching, and assessing. Theory into practice41(4), 219-225.


Pritchard, A. (2014). Ways of learning: learning theories and learning styles in the classroom. Routledge.


Rasmussen, P. (2014). Lifelong learning policy in two national contexts. International Journal of

Lifelong Education, 33(3), 326–342.


Santrock, J.W. (2009). Educational Psychology. McGraw-Hill.


Schunk, D.H. (2013). Learning Theories. An Educational Perspective.

Pearson-Merrill Prentice Hall.


Slavin, R. (2013). Educational Psychology. Theory and Practice. Allyn and Bacon.


Wood, D. (1998). How children think and learn. Blackwell.


Woolfolk, A., Walkup, V. & Hughes, M. (2012). Psychology in Education. Longman.


Yilmaz, K. (2011). The cognitive perspective on learning: Its theoretical underpinnings and implications for classroom practices. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas84(5), 204-212.

Key words search

Learning, theories, global issues in learning

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date