Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Psychology of Learning and Applied Behaviour Analysis

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit is divided in two parts. Part 1 is intended to introduce the student to behaviourism and Applied Behavior Analysis. The aim of this part of the study-unit is to furnish students with a clear picture of the place behaviorism has in the discipline of psychology, in light of the different approaches in psychological theory. It will explore the development and contribution of behaviorism by focusing on the main proponents of the perspective. It will explore how the basic principles of behaviour modification can be applied to understanding and working behavioural difficulties.

Part 2 aims to extend students’ basic knowledge of the major themes related to the nature of learning and motivation. Students will have the opportunity to address the various explanatory frameworks highlighted by these psychologists as well as the investigative approaches they have adopted. Applications to the various fields of psychology will also be made e.g. education, clinical, organizational and developmental psychology

Students will be able to:
- Explain the role behaviourism has played in the discipline of psychology;
- Demonstrate the perspectives highlighted by the main proponents of this paradigm;
- Critique the contribution of behaviorism in view of other major paradigms.
- Explain Applied Behavioral Analysis
- Discuss the key concepts put forward by different behavioural theorists;
- Apply these key concepts to the various fields of psychology e.g. educational, clinical, organizational and developmental psychology;

Tentative Study-unit Outline:

Topics covered include:

PART 1.A Behaviourism
- The development of behaviorism - philosophical/ historical roots;
- The early behaviorists;
- Classical conditioning and Operant reinforcement theory;
- The fall of radical Behaviorism;
- The future of behaviourism;

Part 1.B Applied Behavior Analysis
- Measurement of behaviour and behaviour change;
- Basic principles of behaviour modification;
- Procedures to establish new behaviours;
- Procedures to increase desirable behaviour and decrease undesirable behaviour;
- Applications of behaviour modification : ethical issues & closure.

- Bandura’s Social learning theory;
- Gagne’s Conditions of Learning theory
- Hierachy of learning;
- Piaget’s Genetic Epistemology
- Vygotsky Socio-Historical theory of learning
- Cognitive theories of Motivation

Required Text:

- Ormrod, J. Human learning. (Latest edition.) N.J.: Prentice Hall.
- Miltenberger, R.G. (2014). Behaviour modification. ( 6th Ed.) Wadsworth: Belmont CA.

Reading List:

- Heron, T.E, Hewar W.L., Cooper J.O. (2013). Applied Behaviour Analysis. (2nd Ed.) Pearson International Edition.
- Gage, N.L. & Berliner, D.C. (1992). Educational psychology (4th. ed.) Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
- Gredler, M.E. (1997). Learning and instruction: theory into practice (2nd. ed.) N.J.: Prentice Hall.
- Hergenhahn, B.R. & Olson, M.H. (1997). An introduction to theories of learning. (5th ed.) N.J.: Prentice Hall.

Reading Pack: Available on VLE


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Multiple Choice Questions Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Ruth Falzon
Roberta Farrugia Debono

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.