SOCW 3551

Human Development

3.0 Credits


Students are introduced to the aspects and models of how human behaviour is acquired, maintained and modified in a social environment. A perspective of bio-psycho-social- spiritual human development is used as a knowledge basefor practice with individuals, families and groups. Human development and behaviour is examined through the lens of various theoretical perspectives including Aboriginal, feminist and anti-oppressive approaches to practice.

Delivery Methods

Print, self-paced or Online, self-paced.



Exclusion Requisites

This course is required for the TRU-OL Social Service Certificate Program. Students with credit for PSYC 2131, 3151, 3451, 3461, and SOCW 3550 may not take this course for further credit. Students may not take this course for credit in some programs offered through TRU-OL (consult the program advisor).


Upon successful completion of SOCW 3551, you will be able to:

  • Describe the major theories of human growth and development, focusing in particular on the impacts of social environment on development;
  • Apply and critique the major theories of human growth and development, emphasizing the concept of ongoing development throughout the life span;
  • Compare and contrast major theories on growth and development using Aboriginal, feminist and anti-oppressive critiques;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the range of normative human development that will serve as a knowledge base for social work practice with individuals, families and groups;
  • Outline how developmental stages may be impacted by the intersectionality of gender, sexual identity, culture, race, class, disability etc.;
  • Explore the influence of students' own gender, sexual identity, culture, race, class, language and developmental stage on their social work practice.

Course Outline

The course is divided into the following eleven units:

  • Unit 1: Introduction to the Field of Human Development
  • Unit 2: Theoretical Frameworks and Research Methods
  • Unit 3: Biological Beginnings
  • Unit 4: Infancy
  • Unit 5: Early Childhood and Preschool Years
  • Unit 6: Middle Childhood
  • Unit 7: Adolescence
  • Unit 8: Early Adulthood
  • Unit 9: Middle Adulthood
  • Unit 10: Late Adulthood
  • Unit 11: Death and Dying

Course Duration

30 weeks.

Required Text and Materials

  1. Feldman, R. S. & Landry, O. (2017). Discovering the lifespan (2nd Canadian ed.), Loose Leaf Version Plus MyVirtualChild and RevelToronto: Pearson.
    ISBN: 9780134830087
  1. Anderson, K. Life stages and Native women: Memory, teachings and story medicine. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2011.
    Type: ISBN: 9780887557262

Optional: Wagamese, R. (2012). Indian Horse. Madeira Park, BC: Douglas & McIntyre Ltd. ISBN: 9781553654025

Additional Requirements

In this course you are asked to access online resources that will require high-speed internet and a current browser.

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Primary communication is by phone if you are taking the print version of the course and through the Learning Management System "Mail" tool if you are taking the web version. You will receive the necessary contact information when you start your course.


In order to successfully complete this course, you must obtain at least 50% on the final examination and 50% overall. The following chart shows how the final grade is determined for this course.

Assignment 1: Reflective Journal/Blog 5%
Assignment 2: Reflective Journal/Blog 5%
Assignment 3: Reflective Journal/Blog 5%
Assignment 4: Reflective Journal/Blog 5%
Assignment 5: Case Study Analysis 15%
Assignment 6: Major Paper 35%
Final Exam * 30%
Total 100%

* Mandatory