Contemporary Educational Psychology

This Wikibook is about educational psychology—the study of how learning and teaching occur in educational settings. It is divided into chapters as listed below, which are preceded by an introduction that describes the features of the book in some detail. Initially most of the contributions have been made by myself, Kelvin Seifert, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Manitoba, Canada, though Chapter 10 and 11 (about assessment of learning) were drafted primarily by Rosemary Sutton, a professor of educational psychology at Cleveland State University. This may change over time—others may join, and eventually I may leave. If you wish to contact me try leaving a note on my talk page.

The sections below introduce the features of the book. If you want to skip the introduction, go directly to the Table of Contents.

Features of Contemporary Educational Psychology


The book is divided into thirteen chapters, each dealing with topics, themes, and examples that represent one way of understanding educational psychology (admittedly my way, at least when the book was first posted). The overall organization resembles that of many commercial ed psych texts, but a careful look will show that it is definitely not identical with others.

Paralleling the PRAXIS II "Principles of Learning and Teaching"


A key difference is that content is intended to parallel the content of the commonly used PRAXIS II test called “Principles of Learning and Teaching” (PLT), published by the Educational Testing Service.[1] The PLT test is required in 25-30 American states for persons seeking permanent certification as public school teachers. If you happen to live in a U.S. state requiring a licensure exam for becoming a teacher, you may be familiar with the PRAXIS tests, and hopefully will appreciate the way this Wikibook is organized.

The decision to organize according to the PLT was based on the assumption that preparing for this exam would be easier if the text content mapped onto PLT topics in a straightforward, one-to-one manner. This is admittedly a rather simple assumption, but one that seemed at least worth trying. It has proved easier to implement for some topics and chapters than for others. You must of course be the ultimate judge of the book's success in mapping onto the PLT. Your assessment will depend a lot on your particular needs in preparing for licensure as a teacher. In any case, since this is a Wikibook, suggestions (on the discussion pages) or editing (on the "real" pages) are especially welcome.

Using the PLT as an organizing device, along with posting this book as a Wiki, are the two ways that Contemporary Educational Psychology differs from the major commercially available textbooks about educational psychology. If you do not live in a PRAXIS-using American state, or if you live outside the United States, the PLT-related feature of the organization will not much matter to you, one way or another, though you may still (hopefully) appreciate the online, open-source status of this particular textbook.

Structure of the book


As of this current revision, all chapters have the following parts:

  • Table of Contents
  • Body of the chapter itself (this is the longest part of each chapter-file)
  • Links to tables and figures discussed in the chapter--mostly just promised, not yet actual
  • Chapter summary (less than one page when printed)

What is still to be added will be partly up to you as readers. In the opinion of KelvinLeeSeifert, further enhancements might include these features, in whole or in part:

  • List of key terms from the chapter
  • List of external Internet websites relevant to the chapter
  • Complete references cited in the chapter (most of these are listed at the bottom of their relevant subpages, and some may overlap a bit from one chapter to another)
  • More descriptions of a teaching experiences relevant to the chapters and sections (in addition to those already embedded in the text)
  • More in-depth analyses of selected research issues or studies (in addition to those already in the text)
  • Photographs relevant to particular written content

What's NOT in Contemporary Educational Psychology


Since this book is not published commercially, it contains no pictures or elegant graphics—at least initially. It is also missing some of the teaching or "pedagogical" aids of some commercial books, such as a glossary of definitions or a website of supplementary materials. To get a permanent copy of a chapter or a section, you have to print the material for yourself. Some passages may seem a bit “American” in content, a fact that is likely to be noticeable and possibly annoying to some non-American readers. Whether these differences really are important will be for you to decide.

If it really is important for this book to resemble a conventional commercial textbook, then the material posted here can certainly be revised in that direction by additional contributions (including by contributions from yourself) over time. It is worth noting, though, that textbook styles vary significantly by country of origin and by field of study; the highly feature-enhanced style of some commercial texts is a strictly American phenomenon. For leads on what other styles are possible, check Edutech, a sort of hybrid blog/wiki based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Contemporary Educational Psychology is also related to a student-written wiki about educational psychology, found at The Learning Technology Commons of the University of Manitoba. The two wikis are similar in initial organization of content, but they serve very different purposes and therefore may evolve in different directions over time. This Wikibook (Contemporary Educational Psychology) began with a “snapshot” of educational psychology taken at one point in time (2006–2007), as understood originally by two persons, Kelvin Seifert and Rosemary Sutton. Since Seifert and Sutton began with the expectation of writing a conventional university textbook, the initial posted draft has some of the earmarks of a printed text.

The student-written wiki-text about educational psychology began with the same table of contents as this Wikibook, but students were assigned the task of adding to and revising their own material. This circumstance may lead to the two online wiki-texts to begin with similar content, but to diverge eventually. Time will tell, however, how much this will happen.

Table of Contents


Educational Psychology—a free, open-source textbook downloadable as a PDF file. It is meant to serve as an introduction to educational psychology for preservice teachers. The book uses some of the same content as this wikibook, but has been revised and reorganized extensively.—a wiki of resources for teaching introductory educational psychology.

Social psychology wiki This is an HTML-based site, meaning that all materials are collected and posted by the owner/manager, [Mueller.]

Personality psychology wiki This is a wiki, not HTML-based.

Loopa Psychology Revision A psychology revision blog for a level students studying psychology


  1. Educational Testing Service. (2004). Study Guide for 'Principles of Learning and Teaching, 2nd edition. Princeton, NJ: Author