PSYC 2131: Introduction to Childhood and Adolescence

Students are introduced to developmental psychology: the branch of psychology devoted to the study of human development and change. As change and development are an intrinsic part of the human experience, this course is designed to foster a lifetime interest in the process of human development, as students explore key issues, methods, theories and research findings in this field. The content of the course is organized chronologically-beginning at the point of conception and following the trajectory of human development through to the teen years. The interconnectedness of developmental processes is a major theme, and includes the interrelations between a child's physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. The intricate relation between children and the contexts that support their development are also emphasized, such as family life, peers, and culture.

Learning outcomes

  • Differentiate amongst and critically compare the major theoretical perspectives and research strategies researchers employ in the scientific study of human development.
  • Explain the major physical, cognitive and socioemotional developmental changes that occur across development from conception up to and including adolescence.
  • Discuss the bidirectional interplay (Interaction) of genetic (Nature) and environmental (Nurture) factors upon children's development.
  • Discuss the impact of developmental contexts such as family life, schooling, and peer groups upon children's development.
  • Identify key content found in scholarly research in child development.
  • Apply what you have learned about human development to child-related issues found in your community, the media, and/or the broader social environment.

Course topics

  • Module 1: Basic Concepts and Methods used in the Study of Human Development
  • Module 2: Theories of Development
  • Module 3: Prenatal Development and Birth
  • Module 4: Infancy: Physical, Sensory, and Perceptual Development
  • Module 5: Infancy: Cognitive Development
  • Module 6: Infancy: Social and Personality Development
  • Module 7: Early Childhood: Physical and Cognitive Development
  • Module 8: Early Childhood: Social and Personality Development
  • Module 9: Middle Childhood: Physical and Cognitive Development
  • Module 10: Middle Childhood: Social and Personality Development
  • Module 11: Adolescence: Physical and Cognitive Development
  • Module 12: Adolescence: Social and Personality Development

Required text and materials

Students require the following e-textbook:

  1. Boyd, D., Johnson, P. and Bee, H. (2021). Revel for Lifespan Development, 7th Cdn ed.
    Type: e-Text via access card. ISBN: 9780135413326

Note: This can be purchased directly from the TRU bookstore site at To utilize this e-text after purchase, students will need to register a Course ID specific to this textbook by following the MyLab Student Registration Instructions. These instructions are found in the Course Guide after course registration is complete.


Please be aware that due to COVID-19 safety guidelines all in-person exams have been suspended. As such, all final exams are currently being delivered through ProctorU, which has an approximate fee of $35 involved. There will be more information in your course shell, on how to apply, if your course has a final exam.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1
Modules 1–3
Assignment 2
Modules 4–6
Assignment 3
Modules 7–9
Assignment 4
Modules 10–12
Final Exam (mandatory) 40%
TOTAL 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through the “mail” tool in the Learning Environment or by phone. You will receive the necessary contact information when you start your course.

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