Educational psychology refers to the study of how people tend to learn and retain information. It involves studying the differences in the learning methods of every individual, and the various teaching methods and instructional processes used. Educational psychologists study the childhood and adolescent learning processes and consider the external factors and behavioural aspects that can affect how a student learns.
Educational psychology aims to improve the teaching processes and help teachers learn how learning takes place and what teaching methods should be used to promote learning in classrooms. It also helps teachers use innovative learning methods to improve the way education is imparted in classrooms.
It involves the study of human behaviour systematically and scientifically. The study requires the use of scientific methods to collect and organise the required information. There are 6 main methods used in educational psychology. The next section discusses these 6 methods in detail.
Top Methods of Educational Psychology
Given below are the 6 main methods of educational psychology that are used to collect and organise data regarding human behaviour -
It is a traditional method of study used in psychology. It involves looking inward and determining what thoughts come to our minds. It is a method of self-observation where the student observes what he or she feels and experiences while trying to recall something. For example, when students observe the thoughts and feelings that they encounter while trying to recall the answer to a question and report them, this method is known as introspection. The reflections on this provided by the students cannot be verified by the psychologists. Hence, it is known as an unscientific method. It helps in understanding human psychology and the reason behind the behaviour of an individual.
The Observational Method
This is one of the most popular methods of educational psychology. Unlike introspection, where the individual engages in self-observation, someone else observes the behavioural patterns and changes of the individual. The psychologist can observe the changes in the speech, facial expressions, behaviour, actions, and gestures under different situations and take note of them.
The observational method helps psychologists form generalisations regarding human behaviour by identifying similarities in their behaviour. Forming generalisations helps the teachers formulate a single effective method for increasing classroom engagement.
One of the major difficulties with this method is that the subject can become conscious of the presence of the psychologist near them. This could affect the individual’s behaviour and expressions. The introduction of online education management platforms like Teachmint can help a great deal in observing the learner’s behaviour without letting them know about it.
Experimental is one of the most significant methods of educational psychology. It involves experimenting with the behaviour of an individual in different situations under a controlled environment. In other words, the environment in which the subject is exposed is kept constant throughout the experiment and only one variable is changed to determine the impact of this variable on the individual’s behaviour. Rather than using natural conditions, the researcher controls the situation in an experimental method and observes human behaviour.
For example, if the researcher wants to study the impact of temperature on the student’s behaviour, all other things except the temperature will be kept constant. Here, the student’s behaviour is the dependent variable and the room temperature is the independent variable.
The experimental method is a scientific method which is valid, and its results can be verified. Moreover, the results of the experimental method can be generalised and applied universally. But at the same time, it is also very time-consuming and expensive.
The clinical method, also known as a case study method, is a type of practice that is focused on a particular individual. The purpose of a clinical study is not to find general human behavioural patterns but to understand the problems or reason behind the behaviour of a certain individual and find a treatment for the individual.
For example, if a student is facing difficulty in paying attention in the classroom and constantly getting bad grades, educational psychologists can use the clinical method. It will involve tracking the child’s history, family and health, and relationships with friends and family. The process generally starts with an assumption which is proved or disproved based on the data collected through case histories, interviews, visits to home etc.
The Developmental or Genetic Method
The developmental method of educational psychology believes the adult behaviour of an individual is the more complex version of their childhood behaviour and experiences. This method emphasises that the reason behind the adult behaviour pattern of an individual can be identified by investigating their childhood behaviour and getting to the root. The study of the individual's history of behaviour can help understand their learning behaviour and understand the reason behind it.
The testing method of educational psychology involves conducting a variety of tests on individuals to determine their behavioural patterns. Psychological tests, educational tests, checklists, rating scales and questionnaires are often used as significant methods of evaluating and investigating the individual’s behaviour and personality.
Rating scales can be used by psychologists to find out if a student possesses a particular trait. Psychological tests can help identify the intellect of an individual and determine their aptitude towards certain subjects. These tests can shed light on the individual’s aptitude. Some schools and colleges are also using these tests to select candidates for educational programs.
Hope this article helped you understand what educational psychology is and what are the main methods of educational psychology. These methods can play an effective role in helping teachers improve classroom learning if applied correctly.
Sometimes, students can feel shy or nervous to clarify their doubts in front of the entire class, which can affect their learning. The live chat features provided by online education platforms like Teachmint can make a huge difference for them. In addition to this, features like live polls also help teachers increase classroom engagement.