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Learning and Instruction


NB Language of instruction is English. If preferred, students can answer exam questions and write assignments in Dutch.

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 Onderwijs: wetenschap en praktijk. 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, we will cover 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 design, 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. Students practice translating the implications of this knowledge base to educational practices like instruction and assessments.

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 the ability to critically reflect on the methodology and findings of research articles in the domain of learning and instruction;

  • demonstrate the ability to translate the knowledge base of learning and instruction to educational practices.



Mode of instruction

This course consists of weekly meetings. To ensure that students will attain a thorough knowledge, instruction will take a variety of forms, including lectures, group discussions, and cooperative learning activities. Students are expected to read all assigned articles before each meeting. In addition, students will work on weekly group assignments and are invited to actively participate in group discussions. The course will be concluded by individually writing a reflection paper, in which each student will critically reflect on scientific articles.

Assessment method

The final grade will be based on three components:

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

  • average of grades of inividual tests about assigned articles (20% of final grade)

  • average of grades of weekly group assignments (40% of final grade).

Each component grade needs to be at least 5.5. Retakes of components are only possible for component grades below 5.5.


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.



Students need to register for lectures in uSis. It is not possible to take a course without a valid registration.


Students are not automatically registered for exams. They can register themselves in uSis until 10 calendar days before the exam date at the latest. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the exam.

Please consult the course and exam registration website for information on registration periods and further instructions.

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

With questions about this course email dr. Arnout Koornneef