Module Code: H8LT
Long Title Psychology of Learning and Behaviour Analysis
Title Psychology of Learning and Behaviour Analysis
Module Level: LEVEL 7
EQF Level: 6
EHEA Level: First Cycle
Credits: 10
Module Coordinator: Rebecca Maguire
Module Author: April Hargreaves
Departments: School of Business
Specifications of the qualifications and experience required of staff  
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module the learner will be able to:
# Learning Outcome Description
LO1 Exhibit an in-depth knowledge of the assumptions, concepts and principles of the key psychological theories of learning.
LO2 Reflect on the applications of each theory of learning in understanding human behaviour in different contexts.
LO3 Have the ability to compare and contrast theoretical approaches in their ability to explain various aspects of learning and behaviour.
LO4 Describe and evaluate how the principles of both classical and operant conditioning can be used to explain and modify behaviour in a range of social and clinical settings.
LO5 Critically appraise the interaction between research, theory and practice within fields such as behaviour analysis and education.
Module Recommendations

This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is required before enrolment on this module. While the prior learning is expressed as named NCI module(s) it also allows for learning (in another module or modules) which is equivalent to the learning specified in the named module(s).

No recommendations listed
Co-requisite Modules
No Co-requisite modules listed
Entry requirements  

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
Introduction and Overview
• Defining learning: critical considerations • Historical approaches to learning • Current views of learning and behaviour
Classical conditioning
• Variations in contiguity • Extinction and spontaneous recovery • Higher order conditioning
Applications of classical conditioning
• Interventions using classical conditioning (e.g. flooding, systematic desensitisation) • Aversion therapy • Development and treatment of phobias
Operant conditioning
• Four behavioural contingencies • Shaping behaviour • Differential reinforcement
Applications of operant conditioning
• Use of reinforcement in applied settings • ABA designs • Token economies
Schedules of reinforcement
• Interval vs. ratio schedules • Fixed vs. variable schedules • Extinguishing behaviour • Intermittent reinforcement in applied settings
Aversive contigencies
• Negative reinforcement (escape vs. avoidance conditioning) • Positive vs. negative punishment • Is punishment ever necessary? An investigation in applied fields
Evolutionary influences on learning
• Biological influences on conditioning • Evolutionary and sociobiological theories of learning • Neurobiology of learning
Cognitive theories
• Transition from behaviourism to cognitivism • Tolman’s purposive behaviourism • Gestalt theory of learning • Cognitive information approach (recap from cognitive psychology): Models of memory and applications for learning
Constructivism and social constructivism
• Cognitive developmental theories: Piaget and Bruner • Situated cognition: Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory • Anthropological perspectives on learning
Motivation and self-regulation
• Theories of motivation • Social cognitive theory • Self-regulation • Applications for learning
Assessment Breakdown%
End of Module Assessment60.00%


Full Time

Assessment Type: Essays (0120) % of total: 20
Assessment Date: n/a Outcome addressed: 1,2,4
Non-Marked: No
Assessment Description:
Students will be required to submit a practical lab report which will be based on operant conditioning of “Sniffy” the virtual rat. As part of this exercise, students will be required to condition and subsequently extinguish an aspect of Sniffy’s behaviour and evaluate results in the context of previous research.
Assessment Type: Assignment (0350) % of total: 20
Assessment Date: n/a Outcome addressed: 1,2,3,5
Non-Marked: No
Assessment Description:
Students will be required to submit a short written assignment whereby they will be asked to reflect on how various learning theories may inform student behaviour in an educational setting. This will take the form of an advice leaflet to new third level students regarding how best to approach their learning in college.
End of Module Assessment
Assessment Type: Terminal Exam % of total: 60
Assessment Date: End-of-Semester Outcome addressed: 1,2,3,4,5
Non-Marked: No
Assessment Description:
End-of-Semester Final Examination
No Workplace Assessment

NCIRL reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload

Module Target Workload Hours 0 Hours
Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Description Hours Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture No Description 3 Every Week 3.00
Tutorial No Description 1 Every Week 1.00
Independent Learning No Description 153 Once per semester 12.75
Total Weekly Contact Hours 4.00

Module Resources

Recommended Book Resources
  • Guy R. Lefrancois. (2012), Theories of Human Learning, Wadsworth Publishing, p.442, [ISBN: 9781111829742].
  • Pierce, D.W. & Chesney, C.D.. (2013), Behavior Analysis and Learning, 5th. [ISBN: 9781848726].
  • Olson, M.H. & Hergenhahn, B.R.H.. (2013), An Introduction to Theories of Learning, 9th. [ISBN: 0205921108].
Supplementary Book Resources
  • Brookfield, S. (2009), On being taught. In P. Jarvis (Ed.), The Routledge international handbook of lifelong learning., Oxford: Routledge..
  • Driscoll, M.. (2005), Psychology of Learning for Instruction, 3rd. Allyn & Bacon..
  • Gredler M.E.. (2001), Learning and Instruction Theory into Practice, Prentice Hall.
  • Chance. (2014), Learning and Behaviour, [ISBN: 1111832773].
  • Michael P. Domjan. (2013), The Principles of Learning and Behavior, Wadsworth Publishing, p.663, [ISBN: 0495601993].
  • Jim Gould. (2010), Learning Theory and Classroom Practice in the Lifelong Learning Sector, Learning Matters, p.143, [ISBN: 1844451917].
  • Knud Illeris. (2007), How we learn, Routledge, London, [ISBN: 0415438470].
  • edited by Knud Illeris. (2009), Contemporary theories of learning, Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, [ISBN: 0415473446].
  • Julian C. Leslie. (1996), Principles of Behavioural Analysis, Psychology Press, p.340, [ISBN: 3718659026].
  • Julian C. Leslie. (2002), Essential behaviour analysis, Arnold, London [etc], [ISBN: 034076273X].
  • Mazur, J.E.. (2014), Learning and Behavior, 7th. Pearson, [ISBN: 1292022744].
  • Russell A. Powell, Diane G. Symbaluk, P. Lynne Honey. (2013), Introduction to Learning and Behavior, Wadsworth Publishing, [ISBN: 0495595284].
  • Carol S. Dweck. (2000), Self-theories, Psychology Press, Philadelphia, PA, [ISBN: 9781841690247].
This module does not have any article/paper resources
This module does not have any other resources
Discussion Note: