Educational psychology focuses on research into cognitive, motivational and social processes relevant to learning, achievement, teaching techniques and instructional design. This research stream is complemented by a dedicated community of academics, the Educational Psychology Research Group, led by UNSW Professor Andrew Martin.

Cognitive load theory is an instructional concept derived from our knowledge of the evolutionary bases of human cognitive architecture. It has generated a large range of instructional effects that can be used by teachers, instructors and researchers. 

Research into motivational and social processes in education focus on theories and factors relevant to students, teachers, and the academic context that impact learning and achievement.

Aim of research

The Educational Psychology Research Group at UNSW focuses on:

  • Instructional design that adapts to learners as they learn (current)
  • Instructional guidance in complex problem solving (current)
  • Cognitive load perspectives on the effect of emotions on cognitive processing (planned)
  • Student motivation and engagement (current)
  • Teacher wellbeing and workplace engagement (current)
  • Student and teacher resilience and adaptability (current)
  • Instructional approaches supporting the motivation of diverse learners (current)

Current activities

  • Educational Psychology Research Group (EPRG) Roundtable (monthly, Co-Chairs Prof Andrew Martin and Dr Keiko Bostwick)
  • Motivation and Cognitive Load Lab (fortnightly, Chair A/Prof Paul Evans)
  • Professional Learning workshop in CLT for teachers (annual)
  • ARC DECRA Fellowship (Teacher Wellbeing, A/Prof Rebecca Collie)
  • ARC Linkage Grant (Biological Psychological Approaches to Science Motivation and Engagement, Prof Andrew Martin)
  • NSW Department of Education Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) project into growth goal setting 
  • Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia project investigating academic buoyancy among girls (A/Prof Rebecca Collie and Prof Andrew Martin
  • Jacobs Foundation and European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction (EARLI) investigating educational and biopsychology (Prof Andrew Martin one of the Chief Investigators)

 Who we are

    • Andrew Martin
    • Paul Evans
    • Rebecca Collie
    • Tracy Durksen
    • Keiko Bostwick
    • Denise Lofts (EdD)
    • Janet Lovell (EdD)
    • Shanna Langdon (EdD)
    • Sheridan Dudley (EdD)
    • Emma Le Marquand (EdD)
    • Sue Foxcroft (EdD)
    • Liz Diprose (EdD)
    • Bohdan Ball-Gow (EdD)
    • Therese Gawthorne (EdD)
    • Matt Leeds (EdD)
    • Michael Ha (EdD)
    • Pascale Drever (EdD)
    • Metab Alzahrani (PhD)
    • Xiaoyan Li (PhD)
    • Kris Tong (PhD)
    • Alistair Symons (PhD)
    • Tony George (PhD)
    • Abdullah Almalky (PhD)
    • Somsuda Savarngatat (PhD)
    • Paul Ayres
    • John Sweller
    • Slava Kalyuga
    • Jae Jung
    • Jihyun Lee 
    • Iva Strnadová
    • Sue O’Neill
    • Joel Pearson (Psychology, UNSW)
    • Derek Williamson (Medicine, UNSW)
    • Nadine Marcus (Computer Science & Engineering, UNSW)
    • Gelareh Mohammadi (Computer Science & Engineering, UNSW)
    • Claudia Schrader (Visiting Fellow, Ulm University, Germany)

Partners and collaborators

  • A/Prof Nadine Marcus (Computer Science & Engineering, UNSW)
  • Dr Gelareh Mohammadi (Computer Science & Engineering, UNSW)
  • Dr Claudia Schrader (Visiting Research Fellow, Ulm University, Germany)
  • Prof Joel Pearson (Psychology, UNSW)
  • Prof Lars Malmberg (Education, Oxford University)
  • Dr Andy Holliman (Education, University College London)
  • A/Prof Paul Ginns (Education, Sydney University)
  • Prof Natasha Nassar (Medicine, Sydney University)
  • Dr Emma Burns (Education, Macquarie University)
  • Prof Robert Klassen (Educational Psychology, University of York, UK)
  • Dr Lisa Bardach (Educational Psychology, University of York, UK)

Find out more

For a detailed examination of cognitive load theory, read the guide prepared by the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation.

Teaching and learning

Below is a list of education courses offered at UNSW that can be attained with a focus on Educational Psychology.

  • Master of Education (Educational Psychology)
  • Graduate Certificate of Education (Educational Psychology)
  • Bachelor of Education – EDST1101 Educational Psychology
  • Master of Teaching (Primary) – EDST5151 Child Development
  • Master of Teaching (Secondary) – EDST5112 Learning: Psychological and Social Perspectives
  • School of Education NESA accredited professional learning (eg. Paul Evans and Andrew Martin for motivation; Tracy Durksen for situational judgement test)