PSYC5232 Learning and Memory Advanced

Graduate Diploma Unit


One trimester


Graduate Diploma of Psychological Science – AQF Level 8

Credit points:

6 (out of 54)



Mode(s) of delivery:

On-campus and Online Delivery



Unit description

This unit explores the major theories of learning and how these theories relate to the development of new behaviour. A range of learning principles such as reward, punishment, avoidance, and classical conditioning are used to understand and explain psychological problems. Ways of intervening in psychological problems are derived from learning theories and are subsequently explored. Factors affecting memory are explored including the theories of learning and memory in the context of individual differences. Finally, the interactions between learning and memory are examined to determine how psychological difficulties may emerge. 

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  • Critically analyse major principles of learning and provide examples.
  • Analyse and articulate how principles of learning relate to intervention paradigms.
  • Identify a range of individual and cultural differences that impact on learning and memory.
  • Describe the key processes involved in memory.
  • Analyse the ways in which learning interacts with memory to produce psychological difficulties.
  • Critically evaluate  the current literature
  • demonstrate the ability to write a psychological report at an advanced level

Unit Content

  • Introduction to learning and memory
  • Classical conditioning and operant conditioning
  • Avoidance, punishment and the applications of learning theory
  • Learning by observation
  • Learning language
  • Implicit learning and learning motor skills
  • Theories of memory
  • Short-term memory and working memory
  • Long term memory - encoding, retrieval and memory loss
  • Individual and cultural differences in learning and memory

Learning and teaching process

This unit comprises 10 weekly 2.5 hour lectures and 9 weekly 1 hour tutorials. Attendance at tutorials is compulsory. Attendance at lectures is highly recommended. Lectures will be captured electronically at the time of delivery. These recordings of the slide content and oral presentation will be available for downloading as soon as it is feasible after the lecture.

Study schedule

N.B. This unit is at a higher level than that taken by the Bachelor’s degree students, and therefore students will be expected to adopt a critical and evaluative position on the topics and be ready to engage with the tutor at an advanced level.

Assessment Summary

Assessment information provided at the commencement of the unit in the online class

Recommended text(s)

For more information regarding recommended texts for specific units, please see the School of Psychological Sciences Textbook List.

Academic misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. This includes plagiarism of any nature. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand what constitutes plagiarism in order to ensure that you do not engage in it. Please refer to the full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy for more information.

Parallel teaching statement

This unit involves parallel teaching. In order to ensure the required coverage of psychology and meet the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council Standards, students enrolled in this unit will attend the same lectures as undergraduate students enrolled in the second and third years of the psychology sequence. To ensure learning at the appropriate level, however, students enrolled in this unit will attend separate laboratory and/or tutorial sessions from the undergraduate students. These sessions, rather than focusing on reinforcing the learning of material presented in lectures, are designed to extend this learning in more depth and at an advanced level. This will involve students preparing for these sessions by reading more advanced material. Assessment tasks also differ from the parallel undergraduate unit to ensure students are able to demonstrate the higher level of learning that is required for successful completion of the unit.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of trimester.  A full and update to date unit outline will be posted on the class space 







Introduction to observation; research question(s)posed; purposeof observation explained

Clearexplanation oftheassessment purpose



Some justificationis present but


not cleartothe student



Average explanation regarding observation purpose



Doesnot frame the purpose ofthe assessment




Documentation of observed experience; objectivity in recordeddetail

Observations are describedinaway that thereader

can“see,feel, smell,taste,and touchtheaction. Thestudent has demonstrateda goodflow tothe proceedings ofthe event/experience



Observations are describedin some detail,howeverthe readeris left wanting aricher descriptionof events



Lack of structure/flow to the observation; student over- interprets the situation



Little detail regarding the events is provided




Typeof data collected

Inclusionofa variety ofdata types(e.g., responsesfrom others involvedin theevent(s), observations…)



Assessmentis largely reliant upon oncesourceof information



Over-relianceon thegeneralised observations



Thereis a clearlack ofdetail;minimal attentiontodata




Written description of observations

Excellent writing skills;expressive language demonstrated



Goodwriting skills, but lacks rich descriptionofthe event/experience



The details are evident but lack significant description



Poorwriting skills, noaffectpresent in thelanguage




Length and grammar

Doesnot exceed wordlimit(plus

10%). Assessment is well-written



Exceeds theword limit(11-20%)



Exceeds theword limit(21-30%)



Exceeds theword limit(+31%)