Educational psychology is an emerging branch of psychology that has become quite popular in the past few years. It applies psychological principles to understand how people learn. Every individual’s mind takes in information differently. Knowing how a person’s mind works to help them understand concepts better, gets us closer to achieving the best result. Educational psychology comes in handy here and boosts learning outcomes and teaching processes.
This branch of psychology has become even more important in present times. Every student is trying to excel in learning. Furthermore, learning is not limited to just education, but also in the workspace. There is always something new to learn in everyday life, be it learning to drive, cook, or code. In this fiercely competitive space of education, educational psychology is becoming more relevant in our lives.
The scope of educational psychology in learning
Educational psychology is valuable in many areas. However, let us study its scope in detail when it comes specifically to learning:
● Development of the learner: The educational psychologist tries to understand the learner’s inner traits, life experiences from childhood to the present, and their behavior in different situations. These insights help them to tailor learning programs suitable for the learner, supporting their overall development.
● Effective learning experiences: Educational psychology finds ways to make learning experiences effective and enjoyable. It helps in deciding which experiences are required at which stage of the learner’s development, so that they learn appropriate concepts at a suitable age.
● Development of learning processes: Educational psychologists play an important role in developing new learning processes depending upon the individual’s characteristics and skills. This can include finding new ways for memorizing, reasoning, thinking, perceiving, or problem-solving.
● External environment: Learning outcomes are affected by the external environment as well, and not just by the individual’s characteristics. Classroom environment, team dynamics, communication skills, and how knowledge is being shared – are all factors influencing their learning capacity. If provided with a suitable environment, the individual can learn and perform to the best of their abilities. Educational psychology helps in creating this helpful environment for learning.
● Personality development: Educational psychology can shape a child’s personality development from a very early age. With proper techniques and a classroom environment that is based on psychological principles, the child’s overall development is benefited.
● Mental well-being: The world has become a competitive and stressful place. To keep up, we forget our mental health and end up feeling depressed or burnt out. This has become a sad reality for today’s school kids as well. Educational psychologists can come to the rescue by providing proper guidance and simple ways to learn. This extends to the workplace too, where people may need counseling to deal with challenges.
● Adapting to changing education landscape: The way instructions are imparted in schools is also changing. Smart classrooms and online learning are swiftly replacing the traditional classroom setup. Research on the new methods of teaching and learning is needed to adapt to these changes. Educational psychology examines how technology can facilitate education as well.
● Developing a changing curriculum: Educational psychology also assists in reimagining the school curriculum and deciding how instructions can be imparted to students for maximum benefit. There are many options available for preparing study material these days, in the form of audio, videos, quizzes, presentations, case studies, etc. Educational psychology searches for the most efficient combination of these options to make learning productive.
● Redesigning teaching for special needs: Educational psychology also helps in designing new teaching methods catering to individuals with special needs.
What do Educational Psychologists Do?
Educational psychologists try to understand the learning methods of people in different settings – schools, offices, or workshops – and then develop better methods of sharing knowledge or instructions. They help individuals learn concepts in a simplified manner.
Educational psychologists also try finding answers to questions like “How does culture influence the learning process?” “Does age affect our ability to learn new skills?” “How is online learning different from classroom learning?”
They can work with teachers and parents to improve a child’s learning, or as researchers or consultants in universities, government organizations, and corporate organizations. The scope of educational psychology is vast. With more individuals and organizations realizing its benefits, this is bound to increase.
Educational psychologists have made famous contributions in various areas like education, research, politics, and society. Let us look at three people who made significant strides in the field of educational psychology:
● Howard Gardner, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School, is well known for his theory of multiple intelligences. He stated that there are multiple forms of intelligence like emotional intelligence, athletic intelligence, artistic intelligence, and many more we might not even know of yet.
● Mamie Phipps Clark, an alumnus of Columbia University, is famous for her “doll study”, where she studied the effects of having segregated schools on African-American children. She found that the children associated positive traits with the light-colored dolls, rather than with the dark-colored dolls that looked like them. Her work led to the progressive judgment passed by the US Supreme Court to no longer have segregated schools by race.
● Irene Montero Gil, an educational psychology student from Spain, went on to become the Minister of Equality in Spain. She works towards achieving equal opportunities for people irrespective of gender, race, age, or disability.
To sum up, the scope of educational psychology largely deals with understanding learning behavior. It has contributed significantly to the betterment of the education system. It also considers every person involved in the learning process. Thus, educational psychology contributes to the development of children into responsible and well-learned adults, which in turn leads to a prosperous society.