Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit explores a range of relevant theories to help pre-service teachers understand their own and others' learning. It thus enables pre-service teachers to gain key knowledge for their central professional task of constructing effective learning environments. Particular emphasis is placed on relevant aspects of the learner, the teacher and their interrelationships as well as learner differences. As part of their studies, pre-service teachers will work in groups as learning communities. These experiences and the pre-service teachers' experiences in early childhood and school settings will be used to provide a base for the concepts and theories of learning introduced in the unit. Pre-service teachers will develop knowledge of the variety of ways in which human beings can learn: become aware of different forms of learning - physical, perceptual, rote memorizing, meta-cognitive, narrative, analytical; understand human learning as an active process of meaning making; comprehend important theories of learning, cognition and intelligences and their cultural histories; and explore differences in learning styles and other individual and group differences in cognition and learning.

This study will assist pre-service teachers in developing strategies to help children and themselves to become more effective learners. Using technology as a tool for learning will be incorporated throughout the unit. In terms of the dimensions of quality pedagogy, this unit looks to the dimensions of intellectual quality (notably elements of deep knowledge, deep understanding, problematic knowledge, higher order thinking) and quality learning environment (with specific reference to elements of explicit quality criteria, engagement, high expectations, social support and student direction).

This unit aims to assist pre-service teachers to gain knowledge and understanding of the needs, value and influence of educational diversity and to engage effectively with this diversity in its many forms. Professional experience placements are offered in a range of educational settings such as schools, high support needs special schools, hospital education programs, refugee and community educational support programs and international, rural and remote teaching opportunities. This unit includes a module on working with children, young people and vulnerable adults that will focus on responding to concerns and strategies to keep ourselves and others safe and support children, young people and vulnerable adults.

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 - Articulate basic assumptions, concepts and principles of a range of learning theories and approaches (GA5)

LO2 - Describe the implications of relevant theories of learning and motivation for learning environments (GA5)

LO3 - Discuss various theories and approaches to the way in which others learn and their learning needs (GA5)

LO4 - Critically reflect on learning and teaching practices and policies in the light of their research and observation (GA4)

LO5 - Discuss the application of new technologies to the learning and teaching context (GA10)

LO6 - Develop an understanding of themselves as learners through critical reflection on the ideas and strategies in the unit (GA7)

LO7 - Demonstrate an understanding of action research as a framework that can be used to investigate teaching practice in educational community settings through evidence-based practices (GA5)

LO8 - Successfully complete the professional experience requirements for the first year of the course, including compilation of evidence as required (GA5)

LO9 - Demonstrate an understanding of the importance, policies and strategies for building safe and supportive environments for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults (GA5, GA10).

Graduate attributes

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 

GA10 - Utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:

  • Understanding learner characteristics and differences
  • Approaches to learning and diverse learning characteristics
  • Critical reflection and development of personal theories of learning
  • Behavioral views of learning
  • Social cognitive theory, observational learning and cognitive explanations
  • Memory and information processing, including metacognition
  • Constructivist approaches, including personal/individual constructivism (based on Piaget) and social constructivism (based on Vygotsky)
  • Motivation and learning theories, including contemporary theorists
  • Application of learning and developmental theories/approaches to observation of learning environments
  • Approaches to development and learning in context. Building safe and supportive environments for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Pre-service teachers will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to progress and demonstrate their understandings in this unit. A combination of learning and teaching strategies on campus (lectures, tutorials and online components) and in educational settings will create opportunities for pre-service teachers to work on challenging tasks individually or in groups. Pre-service teachers will be provided opportunities to discuss their observations of learning environments demonstrate their ICT skills and form reflective links with their professional experience in schools where possible.

The Working with Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults module is an online module that will take approximately 2 hours to complete. Successful participants will be given a record of completion.

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 with a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 36 hours. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours then become private study.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the unit learning outcomes and demonstrate attainment of professional standards.

Minimum Achievement Standards

 In order to pass this unit, pre-service teachers are required to submit or participate in all assessment tasks. Assessment tasks will amount to the equivalent of 4,000 words and will demonstrate the achievement of learning outcomes at specific standards.

Pre-service teachers must achieve a pass in the professional experience component of the unit in order to satisfactorily complete this unit. If a fail grade is determined in professional experience, regardless of the marks achieved in the other assessment tasks, this will result in a fail for the entire unit. The student will also fail the unit if the grade for the combination of the other assessment tasks is a fail. Pre-service teachers who fail this unit will be asked to ‘show cause’ and will be terminated if the unit is failed twice.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Through an online submission, written test or examination.

  • demonstrate an understanding of a variety of learning theories for the purpose of future application in diverse school settings
  • Demonstrate evidence of participation in leading small learning groups in an educational setting;

Demonstrate evidence of observations, reflections and discussions of key concepts related to learning theory and the recognition of individual differences in learning in educational settings.


LO1, LO2, LO3


Assessment Task 2

Demonstration of an understanding of broad perspectives and approaches to assist the development of self and others, as learners, utilising a compare and contrast task involving learning styles/approaches in the form of report or reflective learning/ writing essay. Links should be made to practicum where possible.


LO2, LO3 LO4, LO6

GA4, GA5, GA7

Assessment Task 3

Development of a framework for an ePortfolio utilising ICT skills to meet professional expectations.


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO7

GA4, GA5

Assessment Task 4

Successful completion of the professional experience requirements for first year of the course including a 5 day attendance record that must be submitted to the professional experience office.


LO7, LO8


Hurdle Requirement: Online preparation modules

Prior to commencing the Professional Experience placement, pre-service teachers must complete a series of compulsory online preparation modules, attaining a score of 95% or above in each module.

The modules cover:

  • Professional Standards;
  • Professional expectations and codes of conduct;
  • Legal requirements, including Duty of Care, Child Protection and Mandatory Reporting.
  • Professional relationships.

Pre-service teachers must also complete and provide evidence of the following:

  • Anaphylaxis training;
  • Working with Children Check or a Police Check where this is appropriate or mandated.
  • Working with Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults online module: Online multiple choice or short answer questions in 4 sub-modules. Pre-service teachers will need to attain a mark of 75% or more in each sub-module before progressing to the next sub-module.

Note: Completion of this module does not exempt students from seeking a Working with Children Check or a Police Check where this is appropriate or mandated.


LO5, LO9

GA5, GA10

Representative texts and references

Berk, L. (2012) Infants, children, and adolescents (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Bowes, J., Grace, R., & Hodge K. (Eds) (2012). Children, families and communities: Contexts and consequences (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

Duchesne, S., McMaugh, A., Bouchner, S., & Krause, K. (2012). Educational psychology: For learning and teaching. (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning.

Kalantis, M., & Cope, B. (2012). New learning: Elements of a science of education (2nd ed.). Port Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press.

McInerney, D. (2014). Educational psychology: Constructing learning (6th ed.).Frenchs Forest. NSW: Pearson Australia.

O’Donnell, A. M., Dobozy, E., Bartlett, B.J., & Bryer, F. (2012). Educational psychology (1st Australian ed.). Milton, Qld: John Wiley & Sons.

Snowman, J., Dobozy, E., Scevak, J., Bryer, F., Bartlett, B., & Beiehler. R. (2009). Psychology applied to teaching (1st Australian ed.). Milton, Qld: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.

Vialle, W., Lysaght, P., & Verenikina, I. (2005). Psychology for educators. Southbank, Vic: Thomson.

White, F., Hayes, B., & Livesey, D. (2013). Developmental psychology: From infancy to adulthood. (3rd ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.

Woolfolk, A. E., & Margetts, K. (2013). Educational psychology (3rd Australian ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.

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