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Certificate of Higher Education in Psychology - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

The Certificate of Higher Education in Psychology is a qualification which is a step towards the Diploma of Higher Education in Psychology or the BSc (Hons) Psychology degree.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed this certificate you will have a basic awareness of:

  • the core domains within psychology as specified by the relevant professional bodies
  • the types of evidence and research methods used in psychology
  • ethical issues in psychology
  • how psychology is relevant to everyday experience.

Cognitive skills

When you have completed this certificate you will be able to:

  • interpret and use appropriately selected key terms and concepts in psychology
  • evaluate types of evidence and methods, and identify some of their strengths and weaknesses
  • read and interpret some different forms of data, including engaging with descriptive statistics and recognising the relevance of inferential statistics
  • form and argument based on psychological research findings or illustrative cases.

Practical and/or professional skills

When you have completed this certificate you will be able to:

  • reflect on the process of learning and engage with feedback received for previous work
  • demonstrate an awareness of how psychology, and the skills acquired when studying psychology, can be useful in the workplace
  • plan study and manage a sequence of work that meets a deadline.

Key skills

When you have completed this certificate you will be able to:

  • write a well structured essay and a brief report that summarise effectively and concisely, and recognise the importance of acknowledging sources
  • communicate information accurately and appropriately to the subject, purpose and audience, using a variety of forms including essays and reports
  • recognise the importance of acknowledging sources 
  • interpret information from basic tables, graphs, charts and diagrams
  • demonstrate basic skills in the use of ICT including accessing and searching web pages and using ICT tools appropriate to support distance learning (accessing email and learning from online-based study materials).

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Knowledge and understanding are acquired in a variety of ways: through printed items such as specially written module texts, study guides, and assignment guides; through a range of multimedia material; through work on original texts; and through feedback on assignments. Tutors support your learning in tutorials and day schools and through their detailed comments on assignments.

Throughout the qualification, assessment is through tutor-marked assignments (both essays and practical reports) and interactive computer marked assignments. The compulsory psychology module provides an introduction to psychological research methods, including how to carry out empirical research and write up a report.

Specific skills development and assessment beyond the compulsory module will depend on your choice of optional module, although all introductory Level 1 modules offer an excellent introduction to a range of study skills.

The open nature of entry to the OU means that at OU level 1 there is considerable emphasis on reading and writing skills. These are integrated into the study material and specifically taught and developed in separate online activities, via student notes for the tutor-marked assignments, and through tutor feedback. 

Application of number
Basic number skills are developed through interactive online activities.

Information technology
You have the opportunity to work with information technology on each of the modules. Many students use word processing packages to prepare and present their tutor-marked assignments.

Learning how to learn
As you will be studying at a distance and part time, a strong emphasis is placed on helping you to develop as an independent learner. At OU level 1 this means developing basic skills (e.g. of time planning, using support) and recognising the importance of reflection in learning. Your tutors’ written responses on your assignments are intended, in part, to help you learn from feedback and enable you to improve subsequent submissions.