MA Digital Technologies, Communication and Education

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Theories of Teaching and Learning

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC60491
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course unit will introduce the following content areas:

  • Major schools of thought and teaching and learning theory
  • Applying learning theories in different social and cultural contexts
  • Assessing learning
  • Teacher and learner identities and learning theory
  • Conceptions of children and young people in learning theory
  • Education policy, teaching and learning theory and globalisation


This unit aims to develop students' knowledge and understanding of teaching and learning theories and to reflect upon their application in different contexts. 

Teaching and learning methods

Activity Hours Allocated
Staff/Student Contact 20
Tutorials 2
Private Study  58
Directed Reading 40
Assignment Preparation 30
Total Hours  150


Knowledge and understanding

  • An understanding of major schools of thought on learning theory
  • An understanding of key ideas underpinning theories of teaching and learning
  • An understanding of educational practices as they have developed in the context of educational institutions, education policy and in different social and cultural contexts

Intellectual skills

  • Critical thinking in relation to teaching and learning theory and its potential application to different learning contexts
  • Critically examine theoretical perspectives on teaching and learning theory and the assessment of learning
  • Critically examine the implications of teaching and learning theories for young people and teachers in different social and cultural learning contexts

Practical skills

  • Effectively contribute to debates about teaching and learning and learning in different insitutional, policy and socio-cultural contexts
  • Examine educational practices in the light of emerging understandings of teaching and learning theory
  • Examine the implications of teaching, learning and assessment policies, strategies, frameworks and discourses for classroom practice

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Conceptual and analytical skills
  • Information handling 
  • Group working

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback is available via Blackboard

Recommended reading


Bruner, J. S. (1961) The act of discovery, Harvard Educational Review 31 (1), 21–32. 

Fox, R. (2005) Teaching and Learning: Lessons from Psychology, Oxford, Blackwell.

Overholser, J. C. (1993). "Elements of the Socratic method: II. Inductive reasoning". Psychotherapy, 30, 75–85.

Piaget, Jean. (1950) The Psychology of Intelligence. New York: Routledge

Pollard, A. (Ed) (2014) Readings for Reflective Teaching (Second Edition), London, Continuum.

     Reay, D. and William, D. (1999) `I’ll be a nothing’ : structure, agency and the construction of

     identity through assessment, British Educational Research Journal, 25 (3), 343-354.

Rizvi, F. and Lingard, B. (2010) Globalizing Education Policy, Oxford, Routledge.

Skinner, B.F. (1953) Science and Human Behavior,

Tobin, J., Hsueh, Y., Karasawa, M. (2009) Pre School in Three Cultures: Revisited, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher mental processes, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 120

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Paul Smith Unit coordinator

Additional notes



Hours Allocated

Staff/Student Contact




Private Study


Directed Reading


Assignment Preparation


Total Hours



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