Discover the key physical and mental changes which take place over our lifetimes

This course provides a solid introduction to how people's psychology (attitudes/state of mind) develops throughout life. This is a course for people of any age in a counselling, supporting, or teaching capacity, who will benefit from understanding how physiological and psychological changes over the lifespan affect human behaviour. Parents and carers will gain greater insight into issues that present particular challenges at different stages of the lifespan, especially from adolescence to old age.

This subject examines changes across a broad range of topics including: motor skills and other psycho-physiological processes, problem solving abilities, conceptual understanding, acquisition of language, moral understanding, and identify formation, through to relationships, marriage, work-life balance and retirement.

Development over the lifespan 

Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes. For example, psychology studies the brain, sensation and perception, motivation, intelligence, emotions, memory, psychological disorders, and much more. Developmental Psychology is a subfield of psychology. Its focus is on studying the changes that take place across our life span. Development is defined as changes in our physical structure, thought, and behaviour due to genetics or the environment. Development is life long and also can be a very personal thing.



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.


Duration: 100 hours


The study of human development

Study this course to:

  • Learn about behavioural and psychological development from conception through later life.
  • Become aware of the processes and mechanisms underlying developmental change and stability, and the contexts in which development takes place.
  • Understand people better - as a teacher, manager, business owner, counsellor, parent, or just to satisfy your own curiosity.
  • Enhance your career opportunities


Scope of Developmental Psychology

Development incorporates change over time. We all change as we mature. Some of those changes are due to experience and others to our physiology. Developmental psychology is concerned with the patterns and processes of change throughout our lifetimes. A significant question in developmental psychology is the relation between innateness and environmental influence in regard to any particular aspect of development - put in more easy terms nature vs nurture.

Developmental psychology is interested in discovering the psychological processes of development. This is also the study of progressive psychological changes that occur in human beings as they age. Originally concerned with infants and children, and later other periods of great change such as adolescence and early life aging, it now encompasses the entire life span of an individual. This ever growing field examines change across a broad range of topics including: motor skills and other psycho-physiological processes, problem solving abilities, conceptual understanding, acquisition of language, moral understanding, and identify formation.

Although developmental psychologists begin their work by charting the changes they see in the developing human, their ultimate goal is to explain how those changes came about. This is challenging because humans are dynamic, complex beings who are shaped by different people and events. It is often difficult to draw conclusions about exactly which influences and experiences are most important for particular aspects of cognitive development. Thus, psychologists examine a variety of influences including changes in the brain, the influence of parents, the effect of a child's interaction with siblings and peers, and the role of culture. Typically, in order to accurately characterize aspects of development, psychologists must consider interactions between physiological changes in the brain and the child's or person's social environment. For example, people often use child-directed speech when talking with young children. This type of language accentuates word boundaries and is spoken more slowly compared to adult-directed speech. This aspect of the child's environment may interact with changes in the baby's brain to help the baby comprehend the language spoken around her.


How This Course Could Help You

The course is aimed at people interested in:

  • Youth work
  • Child and adolescent counselling
  • Counselling
  • Teaching
  • Child psychology
  • Aged care
  • Youth coaching


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