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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.


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 learning analytics, 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


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable

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 (60% 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 Brightspace.

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 Brightspace.


It is mandatory to register for each course via uSis. This applies to both the lectures and the working groups, even if they take place online. Without a valid registration in uSis you will not be able to participate in the course and you will not have access to the Brightspace module of the course.

In addition, it is also mandatory to register separately in uSis for each exam (i.e. both the first exam opportunity and, if necessary, the resit) in uSis. This also applies to partial examinations in a course. This is possible up to 10 calendar days prior to the exam. You cannot take the exam without a valid registration in uSis.

NB If the exam concerns a paper or a practical assignment, you do not need to register in uSis.

Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

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

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

Contact information

With questions about this course email: dr. Arnout Koornneef