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Exploring psychological worlds: thinking, feeling, doing

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On this module, you’ll take your first steps into the worlds of psychology and counselling. You’ll learn how these distinct but related disciplines can be applied to address many real-world problems. The problems covered on the module come from a wide variety of contexts, including families, crime, activism, mental health, and education itself. You’ll also learn how to evaluate claims and evidence, developing a critical approach to the topics that you can take on to later modules and apply in your own life outside of studying.

What you will study

You’ll cover the core areas of psychology (social, cognitive, developmental, biological, individual differences), along with learning some basic principles of counselling and mental wellbeing. You’ll also develop essential research skills, which will help you to understand and evaluate evidence – the foundation of any scientific subject. Importantly, you’ll learn all of this in real-world contexts that reflect the research and practice that psychologists and counsellors do.

The module is organised into the following six blocks:

Block 1
This short introductory block will settle you in with some basic foundations, such as how psychology and counselling are related to each other and how they differ. You’ll also learn how psychological knowledge can be used and abused, find out the truth about some psychology and counselling myths, and how studying psychology can help you to study.

Block 2
This is set within the context of an election with some contentious issues. You’ll learn about persuasion, leadership, prejudice, discrimination, drugs and addiction, and social division.

Block 3
This is framed around seeking self-knowledge. You’ll learn about personality theory, anxiety, mental health and wellbeing, positive psychology, and person-centred counselling.

Block 4 
You’ll explore the scenario of a new child in a family. You’ll learn how children’s minds develop, how they come to make sense of the world around them, how attachments form and affect people, and how families work not just as a group of related individuals but as a complex system.

Block 5
This takes you into the realm of crime, as you’ll learn about aggression and violence, how witnesses to crimes remember them, how easy (or hard) it is for eyewitnesses to recognise suspects later on, and the emotional effects of crime on victims.

Block 6
The final block is based around environmental issues, using the context of climate protest. You’ll learn about environmental psychology and why some people become activists while others engage in denial.

Throughout all of these, you’ll also learn about a wide range of research concepts that will help you to understand where knowledge comes from and to evaluate claims and evidence. You’ll also develop your skills in using academic information and communicating your knowledge in a variety of ways.

Entry requirements

This is an OU level 1 module. OU level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning to help you progress to OU level 2 study. 

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

What's included

You'll be provided with two textbooks and have access to a module website which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • module materials
  • audio and video resources (including short films and animations)
  • interactive activities
  • assignment information and assessment guide
  • online tutorials and discussion forums
  • access to the Open University Library.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve
  • guiding you to additional learning resources
  • providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content
  • facilitating online discussions between your fellow students in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying D110 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Exploring psychological worlds: thinking, feeling, doing starts twice a year – in February and October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2024 and February 2025. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2033.

Course work includes:

5 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment