Piaget (1896 - 1980) was a Swiss psychologist who was very influential in the field of developmental psychology.  Piaget studied under Jung and Bleuler, in the Sorbonne in Paris, where he worked with Alfred Binet in the administration of intelligence tests to children.  Whilst doing this work, Piaget noticed the types of mistakes that children of various ages were making.  He returned to Switzerland in 1921 and began to intensively study the reasoning processes of children.  Piaget developed a theory that cognitive development proceeds in four stages that are genetically determined and sequential. 

Distance Education Course:



This course will develop your understanding of how physiological and psychological changes over the lifespan affect human behaviour, and of particular challenges at different stages of the life span, especially from adolescence to old age.


This course is aimed at people working with people of any age in a counselling, supporting, or teaching capacity, and anyone wanting to gain insights into psychosocial changes experienced over the lifespan. It provides a solid theoretical basis for future studies in Child Psychology, or other courses, such as Adolescent Psychology and Psychology of Aging, that may be offered down the line.


Completion of Introduction to Psychology is desirable, though not essential.


DURATION  100 hours (study at your own pace, on average taking 4-6 months part time)

The course is divided into ten lessons as follows:
1.Introduction - Theoretical approaches and key concepts
Lifelong growth, nature/nurture; theories – psychodynamic, behavioural, social cognitive, cognitive, lifespan;
2.Early childhood – cognitive & social development in the first 6 years
Genetics, personality, cognition, recognition, memory, social relationships;
3.Middle childhood – cognitive, moral & social development in the school years
Motor skills, cognitive and language development, relationships with family and peers, moral development;
4.Challenges of middle childhood
School and learning, sense of self, achievement, peer pressure, family breakup, grief and trauma;
5.Adolescence – cognitive, moral and social development
Cognitive development, moral development, identity, relationships with family and peers;
6.Challenges of adolescence
Sexuality, peer groups, identity vs role confusion, trauma, depression, values and meaning;
7. Adulthood – cognitive and psychosocial development in early and middle adulthood
Sexuality, parenthood, work and achievement, moral reasoning, gender roles, cultural perspectives, adult thinking;
8. Challenges of adulthood
Marriage and divorce, grief, depression, parenting, dealing with change;
9.Late adulthood – cognitive and psychosocial changes in the elderly
Intelligence, learning and age, physiological influences, cognitive abilities, personality changes, relationships
10. Challenges of late adulthood
Loss, mourning, depression and elderly suicide, aging brain – dementia etc, integrity vs despair, loss of independence.


Some of the activities that you will do in this course are:

·Learn key theories and concepts in the study of developmental psychology;

·List major ethical concerns when studying development, and one step a researcher can take to reduce each;

·Identify cognitive and social aspects of a small child’s development and some key inherent and external influences;

·Describe the phases of language acquisition in infants, and what can adversely affect it;

·Describe major cognitive, moral and social developments in middle childhood and how they influence behaviour

·Compare short term memory with long term memory in middle childhood, and discuss how this affects the child’s ability to learn;

·Identify common psychological challenges faced by children from ages 6 to puberty;

·Reflect on your own success and failure experiences, and your own sense of competence in middle childhood. Consider how they affected your perceptions of yourself as you matured;

·Identify areas of change that will affect adolescent behaviour and thinking;

·Explain post formal thought, and consider how it can contribute to an adolescent’s ability or willingness to make moral choices;

·Identify challenges common to adolescence, and ways to deal with them;

·Explain individuation. Discuss its importance, and how it can both challenge and complement group identity;

·Identify changes that can occur in early and middle adulthood and influence behaviour;

·Explain K. Warner Schaie’s ‘stages of adult thinking’ and explain why Schaie’s model might be more relevant to understanding adult cognition than Piaget’s cognitive model;

·Identify some key challenges faced in adulthood and ways of coping with them;

·List some changes that are typically associated with ‘midlife crisis’. Discuss both negative and positive aspects of ‘midlife crisis’;

·Identify effects of physiological changes and life experience on the aged person’s cognitive and psychosocial experiences;

·Explain how ‘cognitive plasticity’ can affect an older person’s ability to learn despite brain cell loss;

·Research depression and suicide among the elderly;

·Research ways that an older person can be made to feel more independent and automonous. Consider in your response what family members can do to respect the older person’s need for autonomy.

To enrol in Developmental Psychology, click here




Distance Education Course


This course is relevant to anyone involved in education either formally or informally, including teachers, trainers, child care workers, play leaders, workplace supervisors, sports coaches and even parents.It is relevant to education at any age: children, teenagers, adults and even elderly people

Nominal duration100 hours


This course/module will develop an understanding of the psychological processes that occur during the act of learning.


There are seven lessons in this course.

The following outline depicts some (not all) of the topics covered in each lesson.

1.Introduction –Development & Learning Theory

2.Behavioural Learning

3.Information Processing

4.Memory Retention & Loss

5.Individual Needs

6.Constructivist Learning




  • Describe Piaget’s theory of stages of development
  • Observe the behaviour of children in the following age groups (0-2yrs, 2-7yrs, 7-11yrs, 11-18yrs) and note down differences in the way they interact with one another.
  • Interview two adults who have one or more children over the age of 5 years
  • Ask them what they think about using punishment in raising children.
  • Ask them if, when and where punishment might be used: how it should be used, and what results can be expected by using it in those situations.
  • Make notes of what they say.
  • Consider how much (if any) of their comment might be influenced by their own behavioural conditioning; and how much by reason.
  • Why would one person in a classroom forget something that others remember; and remember different things that others forget?

To enrol in Educational Psychology, click here