Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions


Understanding Learning: Global Perspectives

Module titleUnderstanding Learning: Global Perspectives
Module codeEFPM004Z1
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Dr Darren Moore (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

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

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 contructivism and neuroscience.
  • Individual differences in learning and research evidence in relation to this, including motivation and special educational needs.
  • How is 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 learning technologies, motivation and collaborative learning.

Learning and teaching

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 (weeks 1-6; 8-13)
Guided independent study 48Preparatory work for taught seminars (including reading; research tasks; collaborative tasks)
Guided independent study 104Completion of directed study tasks integral to the taught seminars.
Guided independent study 20 Completion of formative assignment tasks
Guided independent study 80Completion of summative assignment tasks


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Poster: Barrier to learning 1,000 words equivalent1, 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
Essay604,000 words1-9Written and grade
Essay302,000 words1, 3-8Written and grade
Engagement log10500 words10 Grade


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (4,000 words)1-98 weeks
EssayEssay (2,000 words)1, 3-88 weeks
Engagement logEngagement log (500 words)108 weeks


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

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.

Harlen, W., & James, M. (1997). Assessment and learning: differences and relationships between formative and summative assessment. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice4(3), 365-379.

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.

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. Oxford: Routledge.

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

Schunk, D.H. (2013). Learning Theories. An Educational Perspective. Columbus, NJ: Pearson-Merrill Prentice Hall.

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

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

Woolfolk, A. (2013). Educational Psychology. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

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.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


Module Dropbox for sharing resources and materials

Module has an active ELE page

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