Development of students | Physical & cognitive | Alison

Understanding Student Development and Diversity – Revised

Learn how to improve your teaching and instructional methods with this free educational psychology course.

Free Course
Alison's free online Student Development and Diversity course will give you a solid grasp of the main development factors involved in student growth. To be an effective instructor or teacher, one must have a good understanding of student development and student diversity. With this course, you will take an in-depth look at the physical, cognitive, social, and moral development of students, which you can then put into practical use.





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This course will first introduce you to the difference between learning and development. You will study the different developmental models as well as discuss puberty and the physical changes that occur during this stage. You will learn trends in the height and weight of students, the factors that contribute to a rise in obesity levels, and the importance of developing motor skills in young children. You will also look into the four stages of Piaget's theory of development.

Next, you will study Erikson's eight stage model of social development, Kolberg's theory of moral development, and Gilligan's theory of moral development. The course will discuss the concept of individual learning styles in students and how gender differences affect students in day-to-day classroom life. You will look into bilingualism and culture, study the total immersion and additive approach to second language teaching, and learn how language is used differently across different cultures.

Students are all unique, from their skill sets, cultural backgrounds, personalities, religious beliefs, and more. This is why every instructor and teacher should have a better understanding of student diversity as well as the trends in student development. This course will discuss gender and culture as well as different developmental psychology theories which will help you better recognize your students' uniqueness. By the end of the course, you will have gained some really practical and useful knowledge.

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Module 1: Student Development

Module 2: Physical Development

Module 3: Cognitive Development

Module 4: Social Development

Module 5: Moral Development

Module 6: Student Diversity

Module 7: Gender Differences

Module 8: Cultural Differences

Course assessment

Learning Outcomes

Having completed this course you will be able to:

  • Discuss trends in student development
  • Identify key cognitive, social and moral development theories
  • Provide everyday examples of development related theories in practice
  • Discuss physical, social, academic and cognitive difference in gender roles
  • Identify how cultural differences affect a student’s educational experience


All Alison courses are free to enrol, study and complete. To successfully complete this Certificate course and become an Alison Graduate, you need to achieve 80% or higher in each course assessment. Once you have completed this Certificate course, you have the option to acquire an official Certificate, which is a great way to share your achievement with the world. Your Alison Certificate is:

Ideal for sharing with potential employers - include it in your CV, professional social media profiles and job applications
An indication of your commitment to continuously learn, upskill and achieve high results
An incentive for you to continue empowering yourself through lifelong learning

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