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 SSC 224 - The Psychology of Learning and Performance


There is this old joke about a tourist in New York who asks a New Yorker about how he can get to Carnegie Hall. The New Yorker replies: practice, practice, practice. Although not the answer the tourist was waiting for, the role of practice is substantial in our society. A role that has become increasingly important as the complexity and diversity of our society has dramatically changed over the years.

In this course, we will focus on state of the art insights concerning human learning and performance, and we will address many challenging questions: How do people learn new things and how do they get better at things they already know? Why do some people seem to learn almost effortlessly while others seem to struggle extensively? What strategies or techniques can we use to improve our ability to learn and perform at a higher level? How do people with different characteristics change under the influence of instruction and interaction with others, and how we can influence these processes so that every learner is able to achieve optimal performance? How do children, teenagers, and adults change as a result of schooling? How important is intelligence and motivation while dealing with complex problems in everyday life? And what changes occur in our capacity to learn and remember as we get older?

We will investigate these and other questions relying on recent insights from educational, developmental, cognitive and neuropsychology. Furthermore, this course will practice what it preaches. That is, we will not only get a better understanding about how humans learn and how they can improve their level of performance, we will apply these principles in the way this course will be taught. In particular, this course will use a problem-based approach through literature discussions and interactive lectures.

You may have encountered psychological research in previous courses such as Introduction to Psychology (SSC121). If so, this makes you already a bit of an expert and in this course I will often relate to your expertise. However, there are still major challenges ahead of you in order to fully understand the complexities associated with human learning and performance, and this course is the next step in achieving that goal. If you do not have a background in psychology, it will not be a problem because all core psychological concepts will be explained



Prof. Remy Rikers 






The following course is recommended in order to take this course:

  • SSC 121 Introduction to Psychology