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EDUC252 How People Learn

Develops understanding of models and principles of human learning applicable to a wide range of educational situations (from personal study and individual tutoring or counselling to whole-class teaching). Covers models of learning, motivation, individual and social differences, and assessment.

How do you learn? What approaches to learning work best for you? What impedes your progress? Would you like to become a more effective learner?

In this paper, you will examine major theoretical approaches to how people learn, with a special emphasis on the application of theory to your own learning.

The assessments in this paper reflect the goal of supporting your learning and include a study diary and the chance to learn something of interest to you that is unrelated to your current study. (Students have chosen topics as diverse as knitting, playing musical instruments, yoga, learning languages, cookery, golf, and surfing.)

Paper title How People Learn
Paper code EDUC252
Subject Education
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period(s) Semester 1 (On campus)
Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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(EDUC 101 or EDUC 102) or 108 points
Schedule C
Arts and Music
With approval, students who have passed EDUC105 prior to 2017 may be admitted without the normal prerequisite.
It is assumed that the student will have some background in development and/or psychology, but this is not absolutely essential.

Dr Kim Brown,

Teaching staff

Paper Co-ordinator: Dr Kim Brown (Dunedin)
Other staff: Alice Hildebrand (Southland)

Paper Structure

The content of the paper engages with the following questions:

  • How do people learn? (the language and framework for thinking about learning)
  • Why do people learn? (motivation, retention and the application of knowledge)
  • Why do people differ in their learning patterns? (individual and cultural differences)
  • How should learning be evaluated? (assessment and evaluation of learning)
Teaching Arrangements

EDUC252 comprises a 50-minute lecture and a 1hr 50min tutorial each week.

BTchg students, who are in the Initial Teacher Education programme, will be completing a two-week practicum experience in schools during this paper, lecturing and teaching continues for all other students.

On the weeks of practicum, BTchg students will continue to have access to the Blackboard range of materials, which all students can reference to support their studies.


Readings available through eReserve.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate current research and literature on learning
  • Explain differences in learning arising from individual and cultural contexts
  • Articulate how knowledge about learning can be applied in a variety of contexts

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 13:00-13:50 9-14, 16, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Tuesday 14:00-15:50 9-14, 16, 18-22
A3 Wednesday 10:00-11:50 9-14, 16-22
A4 Wednesday 15:00-16:50 9-14, 16-22
A5 Thursday 15:00-16:50 9-14, 16-22
A6 Friday 10:00-11:50 9-13, 16-22
A7 Friday 13:00-14:50 9-13, 16-22

Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 13:00-13:50 9-14, 16, 18, 22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 09:00-10:50 9-14, 16-18, 22