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EDFD140 Foundations of Learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

Students enrolled in this course need to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of learning, thinking, and motivation. They need to apply this knowledge to understand themselves are learners and to understand how others learn in a range of human contexts.

The unit begins with a focus on developing the key concept that learning starts with what the learner knows. Emphasis is placed on understanding the multiple ways of knowing. That is, the multiple ways in which learners can represent and organise knowledge including abstract, experiential, procedural, emotional, cognitive, identity, cultural and attitudinal knowledge. It explores the process by which learners process information and convert this to knowledge with emphasis on understanding the link between working memory and long-term memory. The concepts of motivation and attention and their impact on learning are also covered.

The overall aim of this unit is to encourage students to think critically about their own conceptions of learning and teaching and to build on and facilitate extending the learning experiences of others. This unit will assist students in enhancing their own learning to become life-long learner and assist them in their future career endeavours.  

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1     Describe the multiple ways of knowing and the impact of these on learning (GA1, GA9; APST 1.2; ACECQA A1, E1, E2)

LO2     Analyse themselves, their peers, and others as learners through research and critical reflection (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.1, 1.2; ACECQA A1, A6, E3) 

LO3     Articulate basic assumptions, concepts, principles and applications of a range of theories or theoretical frameworks that guide the study of learning as a process (GA8; GA9; APST 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; ACECQA A1, E1, E2)

LO4     Interpret scholarly and professional research resources and employ their findings, conclusions and generalisations to support building their ideas, conceptualisations of learning and arguments (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9; APST 1.2; ACECQA A1, E3, F3).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5    demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students and how these may affect learning.

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following specific knowledge:

A Child development and care 

A1 learning, development and care 

A6 diversity, difference and inclusivity 

E History and philosophy of early childhood

E1 historical and comparative perspectives

E2 contemporary theories and practice

E3 ethics and professional practice

F Early childhood professional practice 

F3 professional identity and development 


Topics will include: 

  • Understanding yourself, peers and others as learners
  • Multiple ways of knowing (e.g. abstract, experiential, procedural, emotional, thinking, identify, cultural and attitudinal)
  • Contribution of research towards the development of the psychology of learning and its applications 
  • The learning process:
  • Behavioural views of learning
  • Cognitive explanations of learning
  • Humanist approaches to learning
  • Motivation, its theories and the role of motivation, attention and metacognition in learning
  • Intelligence theories
  • Sociocultural factors in the learning process
  • The application of information technology to understand learning
  • Facilitation of learning through self-assessment 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit may be offered on-campus, online or in a blended mode. This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the teaching period comprising of directed tasks and self-study. An emphasis is placed on pre-service teachers as adult learners with responsibility for their own learning and who are capable of problem solving. The learning in this unit is enquiry-based, learner-focused and student centred.  

Teaching and learning strategies will consist of a combination of face-to-face and/or online learning. Lectures and/or online material will explore and demonstrate some of the core unit content. Pre-service teachers will be provided with descriptions, explanations and examples of content and structure leading to learning activities that will be explored in tutorials. Tutorials will provide a context for discussion, analysis and application of the content addressed in lectures/readings/online materials. Tutorials will also provide opportunities for cooperative learning and peer tutoring. 

Technology Enhanced Learning  

This unit uses ‘Learning Environment Online’ (LEO) for the provision of lecture and tutorial content, required and/or further readings, and other unit material. Recorded lectures will be made available to students through LEO.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the course learning outcomes by demonstrating attainment of academic and professional standards and develop graduate attributes consistent with university assessment requirements. The first assessment task is reflective writing task enables pre-service teachers to examine and explore their own learning and link their learning to relevant theories. It is an early low-weighted assessment task which provides feedback to pre-service teachers within the first six weeks of the standard semester. This task enables the teaching staff to identify pre-service teachers who are experiencing difficulties articulating their knowledge. These students will be advised to seek assistance from the Academic Skills unit. The second assessment task requires collaboration with peers which is a planning activity undertaken in educational settings. The task allows the pre-service teacher to gain insights of how their peers learn and jointly to create an effective learning environment. The final assessment task is a test which focuses on understanding the theories of teaching, learning and motivation.   

Minimum Achievement Standards 

The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit all assessment tasks, meet the learning outcomes of the unit and achieve a minimum overall passing grade of 50%. 

Electronic Submission, Marking and Return 

Turnitin will be used for submitting, marking, and returning of assessment tasks. Assessment tasks will be returned within three weeks of submission. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Learning portfolio  

Students will create a thematic portfolio to present at least three case studies. The students will dedicate a separate entry for each case study. These entries will be submitted progressively to make use of the descriptive feedback and self-reflection to improve the remaining entries. Each case study should describe and analyse a different learning issue. The context of the first case study is the student (himself or herself); the second is a peer; and the third is another learner external to the unit who may be an infant, child or adolescent. The participant is expected to profile the context of learning of each case study and provide concrete examples as evidence of the learning issue and frame their profiles within the premises of an adopted learning theory and be informed by a review of related literature.

36% (12% each entry)

First entry is submitted for early feedback

LO1, LO2

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Task 2: A comprehensive application of a theoretical learning framework into a concrete learning setting – Seminar Presentation.

Students will work in groups of four to address one of the allocated scenarios on a learning issue. The seminar must be situated within a major theoretical framework that explains the built-in process of learning in the scenario. It should produce a plan to address the implications of the issue in concrete learning context.  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 3: Final Examination

Task 3 is a summative examination that will target the unit learning outcomes. It will be made of a variety of question-types.  


LO1, LO2, LO3 


GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Required text(s) 

Australian Curriculum 

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) Australian Professional Standards for Teachers 

Early Years Learning Framework 

Relevant State and Territory curriculum documents.   


Suggested textbooks (one of the following textbooks)

Duschesne, S. & McMaugh, A. (2019). Educational psychology for learning and teaching (6th ed.). South Melbourne: Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.  

Margetts, K., & Woolfolk, A. E. (2019). Educational psychology (5th ed.). Melbourne, Vic: Pearson Australia. 

O’Donnell, A. M., Dobozy, E., Bartlett, B.J., & Nagel, M.C., Spooner-Lane, R., Youssef-Shalala, A., Reeve, J. & Smith, J., K. (2016). Educational psychology (2nd Australian ed.). Milton, Qld: Wiley. 

Recommended references 

Egeberg, H. M., McConney, A., & Price, A. (2016). Classroom management and national professional standards for teachers: A review of the literature on theory and practice. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 41(7) pp: 1-18. 

Halpern, D. F. (2013). Sex differences in cognitive abilities (4th ed.). New York, NY: Psychology Press.  

McInerney, D., & Putwain, D. (2017). Developmental and educational psychology for teachers: An applied approach. Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge.  

Pritchard, A. (2014). Ways of learning: Learning theories and learning styles in the classroom (3rd ed.). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. 

Snowman, J., & McCown, R. (2015). Psychology applied to teaching (14th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning. 

Verenikina, I., Lysaght, P., & Vialle, W. (2011). Understanding learning and development. Macksville, NSW: David Barlow Publishing. 

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