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How does a child's mind and behaviour change as they develop over time? In this free course, Exploring children's learning, four theories of child development are explored. Each theory views child development from a different perspective and all have underpinned psychological research for many years, and continue to do so today. By the end of this course you will have a good understanding of each of the theories and will probably have begun to challenge your own assumptions about how your own children, or children you know, have developed over time.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- describe the key features of behaviourist, social learning, constructivist and social constructivist theories of development
- evaluate critically these four theories
- illustrate their application to practical issues in child development.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Child development
- 2 Behaviourism
- 3 Social learning theory
- 4 Constructivism
- 5 Social constructivism
- 6 Conclusion
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Exploring children's learning
This course examines four of the ‘grand theories’ of child development: behaviourism, social learning, constructivism and social constructivism.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 2 study in.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Educational Practice courses or view the range of currently available OU Educational Practice courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 28th July 2011
Last updated on: Wednesday, 17th February 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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