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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) $913.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,073.40

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EDUC 101 or EDUC 102 or 108 points
EDUT 231
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 Coordinator: Dr Kim Brown (Dunedin)
Other staff: Alice Hildebrand (Southland)

Paper Structure

The paper has four sections, corresponding to the following questions:

  • How do people learn? (the language and framework for thinking about learning)
  • Why do people learn? (issues in motivation, retention and the utilisation 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

EDUC 252 has a one-hour lecture and a two-hour workshop each week.

For two specified weeks there will be no lecture or workshop as students who are in the initial teacher education programme (about two-thirds of the students in the class) will be out doing a practicum experience in schools.

Please check your workshop placement and arrange any change required with UOCE Reception during the first week (programme clashes - not personal convenience).


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

  • Understand their own learning habits and processes and how effective these habits are
  • Comprehend the major theories related to learning and how to apply these in classroom settings
  • Be able to analyse educational settings from differing theoretical perspectives concerning learning

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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 9-13, 15-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Tuesday 14:00-15:50 9-13, 15-22
A2 Wednesday 08:00-09:50 9-13, 15-22
A3 Wednesday 10:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22
A4 Wednesday 15:00-16:50 9-13, 15-22
A5 Thursday 15:00-16:50 9-13, 15-22
A6 Friday 10:00-11:50 9-12, 15-22
A7 Friday 13:00-14:50 9-12, 15-22

Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 13:00-13:50 9-13, 15-17, 20-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 12:00-13:50 9-13, 15-17, 20-22