Psychology (PSYC) 387

Learning (Revision 5)

PSYC 387 Course Cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science. Course can also be used to fulfill Science area of study (credential students only).

Prerequisite: PSYC 289 or professor approval.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Psychology home page

Course website
(Must be a registered student to view course website)

PSYC 387 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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PSYC 387 introduces students to the principles of learning and how those principles can be used to modify human behaviour. The course emphasizes the application of learning theories and principles to solve behavioural problems as they exist in oneself; one's family; schools; the workplace; and in larger social, economic, and political groups.

Topics include reinforcement, extinction, punishment, schedules of reinforcement, stimulus discrimination, prompting and fading, stimulus-response chaining, generalization, modelling, rule-governed behaviour, problem-solving, cognitive therapy, feedback, Pavlovian conditioning, concept learning, general case instruction, and stimulus equivalence.


  • Unit 1: Introduction
  • Unit 2: Pavlovian Conditioning and its Applications
  • Unit 3: Operant Reinforcement
  • Unit 4: Operant and Vicarious Processes
  • Unit 5: Generalization, Discrimination, and Stimulus Control
  • Unit 6: Schedules of Reinforcement
  • Unit 7: Remembering and Forgetting and the Limits of Learning


To receive credit for PSYC387, you must achieve a mark of at least 50 percent on the examination and obtain a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent). You must also complete the project, to the satisfaction of your tutor, and the seven unit quizzes. The weighting of assignments is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Seven Unit Quizzes (4.5% each) 31.5%
Project 18.5%
Final Exam 50%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Chance, P. (2006). Learning and behavior (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thompson Wadsworth.

Other Materials

The following course materials are available online and include a student manual, a study guide, and a resource file consisting of a reading and exercises supplementary to the course textbook.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit credit for the PSYC 387 challenge registration, you must write the examination alone, worth 100% of your final grade, and you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 5, February 5, 2013.

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