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PSY3060 Learning and Behaviour Change

Semester 1, 2016 On-campus Ipswich
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Psychology and Counselling
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 090701 - Psychology

Contents on this page


Examiner: Jessica Marrington


Pre-requisite: PSY1020


A clear understanding of the theory and application of behavioural models and techniques is considered essential to the study and practice of Psychology, forming an important component of the Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy model in common use throughout psychological practice. Knowledge of both classical and operant conditioning approaches to learning and behaviour change will enhance students' understanding of how psychological techniques are able, when used appropriately, to cause positive changes in behaviour.


This course aims to provide students with a comprehensive account of how humans learn through the application of behavioural techniques - the background knowledge behind some of the most useful and effective therapies in psychology. Topics include an examination of classical and operant conditioning, individual difference factors, social learning and self-regulation, in addition to a sound historical and theoretical background in learning and behaviour from Aristotle and Descartes, via Watson and Skinner, to Bandura and beyond.

The course also provides an opportunity to apply such knowledge and techniques to directly influence behaviour in a training (behaviour change) scenario. As such, the course consists of an initial 7 modules of content, assessed in a mid-semester online test, followed by a practical assignment where students will train a person or other animal in a specific skill, and report on their objectives, processes and outcome measurements in a final report at the end of semester. An initial proposal will be submitted early in semester for the approval of the Examiner and Moderator before any behaviour modification takes place.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to demonstrate:

  1. An understanding of the history, background and applications of learning and behaviour theory, associated research methods and measurement
  2. An understanding of classical conditioning in theory and practice
  3. An understanding of operant conditioning in theory and practice
  4. Knowledge of self-regulatory, social and vicarious learning models and applications
  5. Ability to apply learning and behaviour theory and techniques in practice to change and evaluate behaviour


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction ? History, Theory, Research Methods and Measurement 11.00
2. Applications ? CBT, specific clinical populations, Applied Behavioural Analysis and behaviour management 11.00
3. Classical Conditioning Theory and Applications 11.00
4. Operant Conditioning Theory and Applications 11.00
5. Observational and Social Learning, Self-Regulation, Schema, Individual Differences, Biological Preparedness 11.00
6. Applying theory and technique to a unique training situation to cause a change in behaviour 45.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Powell, R.A., Honey, P.L., & Symbaluk, D.G 2013, Introduction to Learning and Behavior, 4th edn, Wadsworth, Belmont CA.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Levy, JC 2013, Adaptive learning and the human condition, Pearson, New Jersey.
  • Schwartz, B., Wasserman, E.A., & Robbins, S.J 2001, Psychology of learning and behaviour, 5th edn, W W Norton, New York.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 90.00
Lectures 16.00
Private Study 50.00
Tutorials 8.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Assignment Proposal 5 5 21 Mar 2016
2 Hours Online Test 100 55 11 May 2016
Final Report 100 40 23 May 2016

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures and tutorials) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete each of the assessment items satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for each assessment item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    NO EXAM: There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    NO EXAM: There is no examination in this course, there will be no Deferred or Supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. Such copies should be despatched within 24 hours of a request to do so.

  2. Students will need to request an extension from the Examiner if they cannot submit their assignments by the due date. If you think you have grounds for an extension, you must apply BEFORE the due date. Appropriate supporting documentation will be requested by the Examiner.

  3. As there are resources cited in the Study Materials that are available on the World Wide Web, and an online discussion group that will be used throughout the course, as well as online tutorials, assignment submission and online knowledge testing - students undertaking this course will require regular access to email and reliable Internet access to UConnect to enable them to participate effectively in the course. You should consider the above information carefully when deciding whether or not to take this course.

  4. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. //