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Learning and Instruction


NB Language of instruction is English

Admission requirements

There are no formal admission requirements, however, this course is related to the courses Leren en Cognitie, Het Lerende Brein, Het lerende kind, Ontwikkelen van Krachtige Leeromgevingen, and Leren en Leraar. If you did not take these courses it might be helpful to examine their reading materials.


A big part of children’s development takes place in the context of schools. In this course we will focus on learning and instruction in this context. Understanding how learning and instruction occur – and how they may fail – allows one to identify the conditions that promote reaching the learning goals. In addition, it may lead to improved instructional design and interventions when learning is suboptimal. In this course, students will read theoretical and empirical studies on the psychological processes that take place during learning, and the implications thereof for instructional practices. Students will learn more about topics such as instructional processes and tools, individual differences in learning, learning in specific areas such as reading, science and mathematics, different types of assessment, and motivation for learning. Various research methodologies to investigate these processes will pass by and their relative strengths and limitations will be discussed.

Course objectives

The aim of this course is to help students gain a thorough understanding of the psychological processes that take place during learning, and apply/translate this knowledge to education and instruction. At completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate in-depth understanding of recent insights in learning, assessment, and instruction;

  • do so with respect to both general learning situations and specific areas (e.g., reading, science, mathematics);

  • demonstrate a sound understanding of methodological consideration in the investigation of these processes,

  • discuss and evaluate the implications of knowledge of these processes for different stakeholders in the educational field.


Mode of instruction

To ensure that students will attain a thorough knowledge, instruction will take a variety of forms, including lectures, group discussions, as well as cooperative learning activities. Students are expected to read all assigned articles before each meeting, as students’ knowledge of the literature will be tested weekly by open-ended essay questions. In addition, students will work on weekly group assignments (during the meeting) and are invited to actively participate in group discussions. The course will be concluded by individually writing a reaction paper.

Assessment method

The final grade will be based on three components:

  • the quality of the individual paper (40% of final grade)

  • average of weekly essay questions’ grades (40% of final grade)

  • average of weekly group assignments’ grades (20% of final grade).

Each component grade needs to be at least 5.0. Retakes of components are only possible for component grades below 5.0.


The course manual, announcements, and links to the articles will be available on Blackboard.

Reading list

Study material will consist of recent book chapters and/or primary research articles from leading journals in education and psychology.

Links to all articles will be digitally available on Blackboard before the beginning of the course.


Please note that separate uSis registration is mandatory for lectures, seminars, exams and re-exams. Student who do not register, cannot attend courses or take exams.


  • Registration for the lectures of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first lecture at the latest;

  • Registration for the seminars of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first seminar at the latest.


Student must register for each exam through uSis. This is only possible until 10 calendar days before the exam. More information on exam registration

NB The exam of this course is a paper. This means that you do not have to register yourself for this exam in uSis.

Contact information

For questions about this course email Marian Hickendorff