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EDES100 Understanding Learning and Teaching

Unit rationale, description and aim

To become an effective teacher, pre-service teachers need to understand the learner and the factors which impact learning and development.

Through this unit, pre-service teachers develop a sound understanding of human development from infancy to early adulthood across multiple domains (e.g., physical, social, emotional, cognitive). This understanding serves as a basis for an exploration of how psychology can inform effective teacher practice and facilitate effective learning. In this unit, pre-service teachers examine the nature of learning from a variety of perspectives (e.g., neurological, behavioural, constructivist, cognitive, humanist), factors that influence or underpin learning (e.g., motivation, self-efficacy, experience and culture) and the application of this knowledge in educational contexts to help them understand their own learning and the learning of others.

This unit aims to support pre-service teachers gain knowledge on developmental factors that may impact student learning so that they can construct effective learning environments that cater to diverse needs. It encourages pre-service teachers to think critically about their conceptions of learning and teaching.

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 - Demonstrate understanding of normative development in multiple domains (e.g., physical, social, emotional, cognitive) across infancy, childhood, adolescence and early adulthood (GA1; APST 1.1; ACECQA A1, A2, A3)

LO2 - Demonstrate understanding of a range of theories/perspectives that explain learning (e.g., neurological, behavioural, constructivist, cognitive, humanist) (GA1, GA4; APST 1.2; ACECQA A1, A2, A3)

LO3 - Demonstrate understanding of a range of factors that influence learning (e.g., motivation, self-efficacy, experience and culture). (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9; APST 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; ACECQA A1, A3)

LO4 - Reflect on, and critique themselves, their peers, and others as learners based on seminal and contemporary theories and influencing factors. (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9; APST 1.1, 1.2; ACECQA 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 

A2. language development

A3. social and emotional development

F. Early childhood professional practice 

F3. professional identity and development


Topics will include: 

  • Human development during infancy, childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.
  • Theories of human development including emotional, social, cognitive and physical domains
  • What does it mean to know something?
  • Expertise
  • Human memory.
  • Theoretical conceptualizations of learning including:
  • Neurological
  • Behavioural
  • Constructivist
  • Cognitive
  • Humanist
  • Influences on learning:
  • Motivation and engagement
  • Attention, observation, practice
  • Metacognition & self-regulation
  • Self-efficacy and experience
  • Culture 
  • Intelligence
  • Goal setting
  • Resilience
  • Learner diversity (including physical, social, intellectual, learning styles, contexts) and the impact of these on learning.
  • Importance of research, reflective practice and linking theory and practice in teaching.
  • ICT use in learning and teaching. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

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 Inquiry-based, learner-focused and student centred.

The learning and teaching strategy for this unit is based on a Constructivist approach that recognises that learning builds on pre-existing understandings and is shaped by a learner’s sociocultural context. In line with the chosen learning and teaching strategy, this unit includes: content delivery designed to encourage active learning and engagement, and teaching methods designed to consolidate the learning of content, apply knowledge to problem-solving tasks and develop analytical and evaluating skills. The learning and teaching strategy is achieved through a range of learning activities such as reading, reflection, discussion, and engagement with webinars, podcasts and video resources.

The unit is hosted on a Learning Management System (LMS) site with resources and online links, announcements, and a discussion board to post questions and reflections that promote connection between content and educational experiences.

Mode of delivery: This unit may be offered in different modes to cater to the learning needs and preferences of a range of participants.

On Campus

Most learning activities or classes are delivered at a scheduled time, on campus, to enable in-person interactions. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.


Learning activities are delivered through a planned mix of online and in-person classes, which may include full-day sessions and/or placements, to enable interaction. Activities that require attendance will appear in a student’s timetable.

Online unscheduled

Learning activities are accessible anytime, anywhere. These units are normally delivered fully online and will not appear in a student’s timetable. 

Online scheduled

All learning activities are held online, at scheduled times, and will require some attendance to enable online interaction. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.

ACU Online 

In ACU Online mode, this unit is delivered asynchronously, fully online using an active, guided learning approach. Pre-service teachers are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions and receive regular and timely feedback on their learning. 

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. The Understanding Learning and Teaching unit will focus on developing understanding of, and skills across the professional knowledge, practice and engagement needed to meet expectations of the Graduate Attributes and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate level. The first assessment task, a reflective writing task, enables pre-service teachers to examine and explore their own learning and link their learning to relevant theories. It is an low-weighted assessment task which provides feedback to pre-service teachers early in the study period. This task enables the teaching staff to identify pre-service teachers who are experiencing difficulties articulating their knowledge. These pre-service teachers will be advised to seek assistance from the Academic Skills unit. The second assessment task, requiring collaboration with peers, is a planning activity undertaken for a scenario of an educational setting. The task allows the pre-service teacher to gain insights into how their peers learn and to jointly 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%.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Self-learning reflection

Pre-service teachers create a critically reflective account of their development and personal learning journey that has brought them to where they are today and answer the question: Who am I as a learner? through explanatory links to relevant learning theories and readings.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 2: Application of a learning framework

In small groups, pre-service teachers prepare and present on an allocated learning scenario. Pre-service teachers will research what teachers need to consider in order to create effective learning environments and to evaluate student success. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Assessment Task 3: Examination

Multiple-choice and short answer questions based on unit content.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Recommended texts 

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

Margetts, K., & Woolfolk, A. E. (2019). Educational psychology (5th ed.). 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.). 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.). Psychology Press.  

McInerney, D., & Putwain, D. (2017). Developmental and educational psychology for teachers: An applied approach. Routledge.  

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

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

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

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