Educational Psychology Courses
Educational psychology is a full academic field with its own learning theories and many varied studies related to teaching and learning.
Explore our full library of educational psychology courses:
What is Educational Psychology?
Educational psychology can be defined as the study of the mental and behavioral processes involved in the course of learning, teaching, and otherwise working in educational institutions. As an applied branch of psychology, the field borrows much from its parent discipline, especially its scientific perspective. At the same time, educational psychology is an academic field in its own right, with its own specialized theories and research questions related to schooling and instruction. The discipline constantly seeks out more efficient and effective ways to assist teachers and engage students, making the learning experience fruitful for everyone involved.
Currently, the research and perspectives of educational psychologists tend toward five major categories of learning theories:
- Behaviorism — Behaviorists believe that what people do and say can and should be explained by observable experiences rather than mental processes. For this reason, conditioning is often used to discourage negative behavior and encourage proper behavior in the classroom.
- Cognitivism — Cognitivists see the mind as fundamentally processing information; therefore, the behavior must result from a combination of mental processes responding to stimuli. Successful learning depends on a capable authority presenting accurate information and student mental processes receiving, storing, and allowing recall of that knowledge, especially during testing.
- Constructivism — Constructivists acknowledge that people create knowledge based on their experience of outside stimuli, as they are constantly reinterpreting their thoughts due to the relationship between old and new information. These ideas often appear in the classroom in the form of open-ended questions or prompts, where answers are created based on the interplay of what has been taught and how it was received.
- Experientialism — Experientialists contend that people learn most effectively through experiences and that the learning environment affects their ability to receive knowledge, meaning it may not be what was presented. Such learning is often experienced in the form of field trips where teachers act as guides, not entirely in control of what is learned. At the same time, the novel environment ensures that whatever the students learn individually will be remembered well.
- Social and Contextual — These theories argue that all learning experiences are affected by their environmental contexts and the social nature of knowledge; hence personality, environment, and behavior are interconnected, each shaped by and shaping the learning experience. Teachers can apply concepts to the particulars of students' lives and provide practical, outside context for lessons to spur student engagement.
Educational Psychology Test Prep
Students hoping to earn college credit for their knowledge of educational psychology and prospective school psychologists will be more prepared for their exams after reviewing Study.com's test prep materials. The CLEP Intro to Educational Psychology Study Guide provides a solid foundation in educational psychology. The various test prep courses for individuals preparing to be school psychologists, such as the Praxis School Psychologist Exam Prep, review key topics in developmental and educational psychology, assessments, and intervention, and are designed for the requirements of individual states. Test-takers who utilize these study guides will feel confident and prepared for their respective exams.