In this academic plan, the knowledge, skills, and attitudes will manifest in the form of program goals and learning outcomes. However, before program goals are set, the interdisciplinary term, human development and educational psychology, should be defined. According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) dictionary of psychology, human development (closely related with development psychology) is the study of the physical, cognitive, and behavioral changes that occur during the human lifespan. It investigates the various biological, neurobiological, genetic, psychological, social, cultural, and environmental factors that affect development. Educational psychology is the study of human learning and deals with the application of psychological principles and theories to a broad spectrum of teaching, training, and learning issues in educational setting. Developmental and educational psychologist often holds applied as well as academic positions, spending a lot of time teaching and researching.
In preparing students for teaching and research careers in an educational setting, the Master of Arts in human development and educational psychology will involve the following goals.
- To provide all students with a strong foundation in human learning, instruction, development, statistics, and measurement, as core components.
- To foster accomplishment within a particular area of expertise (human development or educational psychology).
- To foster acquisition of skills in measurement and statistics as applied to educational research and problem solving.
- To foster competence in both applied and theoretical research.
- To assist students in career development as related to educational psychology and instructional environments.
There is no one way to construct and academic plan (Lattuca & Stark, 2009). Thus, this academic plan uses curriculum design elements from both Robert Diamond’s 2008 model and George Posner and Alan Rudnitsky’s 2006 model. Most of the revision, however, will occur through Diamond’s design model because it matches the plan’s focus on social issues and learners’ needs. The course planning section will feature Posner and Rudnitsky’s model because of it guidance on course structure.
In Posner and Rudnitsky’s model, which aligns with Diamond’s model, learning outcomes are crucial to guide instructional planning, communicate the learning goals to students and the public, and provide a foundation for developing indicators of success (Lattuca & Stark, 2009). The goals mentioned above will be obtained through a set of learning outcomes that students will achieve through courses that are highly structured. The learning outcomes for students consist of the following.
- Students will demonstrate a broad theoretical knowledge of human development.
- Students will be able to explain and synthesize theories from educational psychology.
- Students will have methodological competence to carry out primary statistical analyses and evaluate the credibility of research findings.
- Students will be able to design and carry out a small-scale research study that addresses a relevant issue in human development or educational psychology.
- Students will demonstrate strong written and oral communication skills within educational roles.
The knowledge, skills, and attitudes found in the program goals and learning outcomes will be learned through the content of the core subject areas of the program. These include human development, learning and instruction, measurement, statistics and research design.
Courses in human development will cover various theories in infancy, early and late childhood, adolescence, emerging and young adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood. Some of the developmental theories include brain and cognitive development, psychosocial development, moral development, emotional development Conception and birth as well as death and dying will also be covered. The content tied to this subject area will give students a spectrum of theoretical knowledge of the lifespan.
Students engaged in learning and instruction courses will learn about theories such as behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, engagement and motivation, theory of multiple intelligence, etc. The content in this area will provide theoretical knowledge of educational psychology.
Measurement, statistics, and research design are a group of subject areas that are highly connected. Measurement courses will focus on creating educational and psychological assessments, developing surveys, and analyzing such instruments. Statistics will entail understanding descriptive and inferential statistics. Research design courses will cover knowledge about quantitative and qualitative research methods. The courses in these areas will enable students to gain methodological competence and conduct research study.
Later in the plan, the section on instructional processes will allow students demonstrate the learning outcome concerned with written and oral communication. Courses will include assignments or tasks that will showcase students’ communication skills.
This academic plan will strive to achieve a cohesiveness between the subject areas. Therefore, courses will be highly structured. This means that courses will be organized with high commonality and high temporality. In Lattuca and Stark’s (2009) account of Posner’s classification of curricular content, they explained commonality as “the similarity of curriculum units” and temporality as “the relationship of curricular units in time (p. 142). Courses will be structured in a staircase manner beginning with introductory courses, then moving on to intermediate courses. Advanced courses will occur toward end of the program. The sequencing of courses will allow students to use prior knowledge and build their skills. At the end of the program the advanced skills acquired will enable student to complete a research project or thesis.
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