What is Educational Psychology?

Psychologist counseling an adolescent child

Educational psychology involves both teaching and learning. But how does that work?

It works because educational psychology is concerned with the scientific study of human learning. How a child or adult learner actually learns, while identifying learning, social or behavioral issues that can also impede learning.

Finding a Specific Definition

Educational Psychology at Kent State University is “a field for those interested in the application of psychological principles to learning and instruction. It encompasses a variety of different disciplines, including cognitive psychology, human development, and learning theory. Students are exposed to the latest research findings regarding how people learn most effectively and efficiently. They also apply these principles to the design of instruction and study how to most accurately assess different types of learning.”1

What Does an Educational Psychologist Do?

An educational psychologist conducts research on how well people learn in specific settings or with a set of specific instructions. Understanding this allows educational psychologists to develop new and improved techniques for teaching and learning.

Educational psychologists also “evaluate and analyze certain teaching methods, testing methods, and educational programs.”2 Studying these areas gives educational psychologists insight into potential flaws or problems that may make it difficult for children or people to learn. Understanding this also allows educational psychologists to develop new educational resources.

Graduates of the online program at Kent State University will be able to:3

  • Describe the various schools of learning theory that have informed educators.
  • Conduct literature reviews to examine issues associated with how individuals learn.
  • Apply principles of human development and learning when developing and selecting educational approaches.
  • Identify best practices for maximizing student learning.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of theories and principles of learner motivation.

Featured Researcher - Dr. Bradley Morris

Bradley Morris

Dr. Bradley J. Morris is a Developmental Cognitive Scientist whose research program includes basic research in cognitive development and its application in designing effective Pre-K-12 STEM instruction. His research focuses on the development of Scientific and Mathematical reasoning and Motivation. The goal of his research program is to identify the mechanisms underlying children’s reasoning (e.g., strategy acquisition) and motivation (e.g., praise type) using a variety of experimental methods (e.g., eye tracking) and computational modeling.

Dr. Morris’s current work includes the large-scale Food for Thought project funded by the National Science Foundation that incorporates STEM learning into family food preparation. The Food for Thought project is a collaboration of the Science of Learning and Education (SOLE) Center at Kent State University, the Cincinnati Museum Center, and LaSoupe (a food education and food rescue organization that serves food-insecure families in the Cincinnati area) that engages families with cooking activities at partner locations and encourages families to learn about science while making foods like popcorn and French toast. Families are given carry-out science kits that contain food preparation activities to do at home, as well as questions to promote discussions about the science of food.4

Develop Your Skills in Educational Psychology

The Master of Education (M.Ed) in Educational Psychology is a general degree program, appropriate for teachers or trainers and is offered 100% online. Become an educational psychologist and graduate with your degree today.

1 Retrieved on January 17, 2021, from https://www.kent.edu/ehhs/epsy
2 Retrieved on January 17, 2021, from https://careersinpsychology.org/educational-psychologist/
3 Retrieved on January 17, 2021, from https://www.kent.edu/ehhs/ldes/epsy/masters-education
4 Retrieved on January 17, 2021, from https://www.kent.edu/ehhs/news/ehhs-featured-researchers-spring-2020

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