Key foundation concepts in Psychology

John Elliot Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Psychology 2015(1)

What Used to Be

A conventional lecture module in introductory psychology (PL1101E) for around 900 students per annum in two lecture sessions per semester, plus tutorials of 25 students per group.

Problems We Identified

The first year is heavy. Students often complain about the coverage expected. Moreover, there is no ‘A’ level in psychology, and students come with many different backgrounds, including from arts or commerce streams rather than science, yet psychology is a very popular subject in the Faculty. The biological foundations of the discipline are especially challenging for non-science students.

What We Did

Devise a series of RSA animated videos, illustrating some key foundation concepts in psychology, especially those shown tend to be the source of misconceptions, or just difficult. These were made available as a stand-alone resource for the introductory psychology module, with provision for feedback and ‘likes’.

How This Helped

Reaction for students has been favourable, and a few constructive suggestions for improvement have also been received. With a very large enrolment it is difficult to escape from traditional lecture mode into blended learning, but these videos are a step in that direction. If they can be followed up with techniques that facilitate Q&A in lecture time, and linked to pre-recorded lecture content, a fully blended course may become practicable.

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