BSc Educational Psychology / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Cognition & Learning: implications for school

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC23022
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This unit revisits the areas covered in “The Brain Goes to School” and develops the ideas further by building on the concepts from neuropsychology using information processing theory. This leads to cognitive models explaining Attention; Perception; Learning; Memory; Thinking and meta-cognition; Problem solving and decision-making’; and Language.

The focus is on understanding how these cognitive processes are used by typical and atypical learners in educational settings.



Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
The Brain goes to school EDUC13031 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


The unit aims to:


 - Provide coverage of the BPS qualifying exam syllabus core area of cognitive psychology

- Show how an understanding of cognitive psychology helps to explain learning in the classroom.


Teaching and learning methods

Interactive sessions (e.g. including class or group discussion and debate, case/scenario based learning, and other approaches to learning and teaching)

Group or home based workshop activities to explore aspects cognitive psychology relevant to school based learning


Knowledge and understanding

Demonstrate a systematic understanding of key issues and concepts in cognitive psychology (e.g. working memory, multimodal stores, central executive).

Critically analyse and evaluate relevant literature in the areas of cognitive psychology.

Examine, interpret and apply topics in cognitive psychology to educational settings and contexts.

Explain, in cognitive psychological terms, aspects of perception, attention, learning and memory, and their significance in developmental and educational contexts

Intellectual skills

Discuss and debate chosen topics in neuropsychology and critically evaluate their strengths and limitations of their underpinning research.

Apply and critically evaluate neuropsychological theory in relation to education

Practical skills

Design and carry out workshop exercises to explore aspects memory and relate this to school based learning.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Take charge of their own learning and undertake self-directed study to produce a credit-bearing assignment (see below) Written communication

Oral communication (contributing to discussion and debate)

Working with others (group work)
IT skills (word processing, accessing electronic databases and library facilities, managing references)

Assessment methods

Assessment task  Assessment task  How and when feedback is provided  How and when feedback is provided Students are to produce a reflective lab report from the workshop activities to consider how cognitive processes can be applied to learning in the classroom. 3000 Written feedback (utilising Turn-it-in), within University guidelines.

Students are also required to complete an online 'mid term quiz', as indicated on Blackboard

Feedback methods

Written feedback (utilising Turn-it-in), within University guidelines

Recommended reading

General texts

Ward, J. (2015) The Student's Guide to Cognitive Neuroscience (3rd Ed) London: Psychology Press


Developmental cognitive neuroscience: an introduction - Mark H. Johnson, Michelle De Haan 2015


Temple, C. M. (1997). Cognitive neuropsychology and its application to children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38, 27-52



Petersen, S. E., & Posner, M. I. (2012). The attention system of the human brain: 20 years after. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 35, 73.


Fernandez-Duque, D. & Johnson, M. L. (2002) Cause and effect theories of attention: the role of conceptual metaphors. Review of General Psychology, 6, 153-165. doi: 10.1037//1089-2680.6.2.153


LaBerge, D. L. (1990) Attention. Psychological Science, 1, 156-162. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.1990.tb00188.x


Sarter, M., Givens, B. & Bruno, J. P. (2001) The cognitive neuroscience of attention: where top-down meets bottom-up. Brain Research Reviews, 35, 146-160. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2010.01013.x


Scerif, G., (2010). Attention trajectories, mechanisms and outcomes: at the interface between developing cognition and environment. Developmental Science, 13, 805-812. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2010.01013.x



Sacks, O. (1985) The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Picador: London Learning



Chapter 9 of Ward, J. (2015) The Student's Guide to Cognitive Neuroscience (3rd Ed) London: Psychology Press.


Bristow, J., Cowley, P. and Daines, R. (1999) Memory and Learning: A practical guide for teachers. This book gives lots of examples of how an understanding of memory can be used in planning learning.


Gathercole, S.E & Alloway, T.P. (2008) Working memory and learning: A practical guide for teachers. London: Sage

Alloway, TP (2011) Improving working memory: Supporting students learning. London: Sage

Bristow, J., Cowley, P. & Daines, R. (1999) Memory and Learning: A practical guide for teachers. London: David Fulton Publishers

Buzan, T. (1974) Use your head. BBC Publications - see also Use your memory, and Master your memory

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ola Demkowicz Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Activity Hours Allocated
Staff/ Student contact 30 hours over 10 weeks

workshops and seminars

As above
Private study, reading and assignment preparation 170
Total Hours 200


Return to course details