Meaning, Definitions, Scope, Limitations and Need of Educational Psychology

Educational psychology is naturally that branch of psychology which is concerned or related to the understanding of problems of education in general

Educational Psychology

Human psychology is a complex thing. Every one is interested in understanding human behaviour. As a result of continuous research in the field of education and psychology, the subject of educational psychology is gradually assuming importance. Teaching-learning today, is to a great extent determined by the principles of psychology. Theories and principles of psychology are being increasingly used in field of education. On the basis of our understanding of a student's behaviour, we can arrange his education.

Meaning, Definitions, Scope, Limitations and Need of Educational Psychology

Educational psychology is naturally that branch of psychology which is concerned or related to the understanding of problems of education in general arid teaching-learning in particular. Educational psychology is an applied branch of general psychology with a view to have proper understanding of the meaning and nature of educational psychology it would be quite worth while to study a few definitions.

Meaning of Educational Psychology

Educational psychology is one of the branches of psychology to study the behaviour of the learner in relation to his education. As specialized branch of psychology concerns itself with suggesting ways and means of improving the process and products of education, enabling the teacher to teach effectively and the learners to learn effectively with the minimum effort.

Educational psychology is that branch of psychology which deals with the application of psychological findings in the field of education. In other words it deals with the human behaviour in educational situations. It is the systematic study of the development of the individual in the educational settings. It is the scientific study of human behaviour by which it can be understood, predicated and directed by education to achieve goals of life.

Definition of Educational Psychology

1. According to C.E. Skinner, "Educational Psychology is the branch of psychology which deals with teaching and learning."

2. According to Crow and Crow, "Educational psychology describe and explains learning experience of an individual from birth to old age."

3. According to Kolesnik, "Educational psychology is the application of the findings and theories of psychology in the field of education."

On the basis of above definitions, we can conclude that educational psychology is that scientific knowledge which deals with teaching and learning process. Teacher, student and teaching-learning situations assume special importance in this subject.

Nature of Educational Psychology

Human behaviour is the core of educational psychology. Now-a-daya it is being taught a subject in training colleges. The unanimous opinion about it, is that educational psychology may be considered as the science of education. We can summarize the nature of Educational Psychology in the following ways:

1. Educational Psychology is a science:- Like any other science, educational psychology has also developed objective methods of collection of data. It also aims at understanding, predicting and controlling human behaviour.

2. Educational Psychology is a natural Science:- An educational psychologist conducts his investigations, gathers his data and reaches his conclusions in exactly the same manner as physicist or the biologist.

3. Educational Psychology is a Social Science:- Like the sociologist, anthropologist, economist or political scientist, the educational psychologist studies human beings and their sociability.

4. Educational Psychology is a Positive Science:- Normative science like Logic of Ethics deals with facts as they ought to be. A positive science deals with facts as they are or as the open Educational psychology studies the child's behaviour as it is not as it ought to be So it is a positive science.

5. Educational Psychology is a developing or Growing Science:- It is concerned with new and ever new researches. As research findings accumulate, educational psychologists get better insight into the child's nature and beahviour.

6. Laws of educational psychology are universal:- Educational psychology possesses a well-organized, systematic and universally accepted body of facts supported by the relevant psychology laws and principles.

7. Scientific Methods:- Educational psychology employs scientific methods and adopts a scientific approach for studying the learner's behaviour such as observation, experimentation, clinical investigation and generalization, etc.

8. Constant search of the truth:- The results of any study in educational psychology can be challenged and are modified or altered in terms of the latest explanatins and findings. So the findings of any study are never taken as absolute and permanent.

9. Reliability:- Educational psychology does not accept hearsay and not take anything for granted. It emphasizes that essentially there is some definite causes linked with a behaviour and the causes of this behaviour are not related to supernatural phenomena.

10. Developing positive Science:- Educational psychology cannot claim the status of a developed positive science like there natural or applied sciences. It is considered as one of the developing positive sciences of the learner's behaviour.

11. Educational psychology studies the behaviour of students, but it only takes into consideration the behaviour in educational situation. Educational psychology is an applied positive science. The why and

On the basis of above discussion we conclude about the nature of educational psychology that it is science, positive and applied science and it follows a scientific approach.

Scope of Educational Psychology

We cannot definitely establish the areas or the scope of educational psychology because the boundaries of educational psychology are limitless and changing. Educational psychology is an emerging and developing subject. There are certain areas of educational psychology which are yet to develop. New researches are taking place. The following areas in the scope of educational psychology are discussed:

1. Study of Development Stages:- It is essential to study the process of growth and development of an individual and to know how an individual grows and develops is very essential for the teacher.

2. Study of Individual Differences:- Educational psychology helps to understand individual differences. No two persons or individuals are alike. They differ in the various dimensions of their personalities. They also differ in their abilities and capacities. So studying the individual differences is the scope of educational psychology.

3. Study of Behaviour:- It is through the study of educational psychology that the behaviour of the child in different learning situations can be known. The emotional, social, physical and mental behaviour of the child in different situations of learning can be studied with the help of knowledge of educational psychology.

4. Guidance and Counselling:- Another area of educational psychology which is emerging is the area of educational guidance and counselling. In order to become a good guidance worker and a counsellor of, the knowledge of educational psychology is very essential for the teacher.

5. Study of Personality:- Educational psychology helps to understand the different dimensions of the process of the development of the personality of an individual and defects in the personality can also be studied.

6. Measurement and Evaluation:- An important area of educational psychology is the area of measurement and evaluation. Educational psychology provide new and effective techniques to measure and evaluate the interest, attitudes, personality etc. of the students. Besides this, educational psychology provides much help in the measurement of intelligence of the students.

7. Condition of Learning:- Educational psychology makes a major contribution to study the conditions of learning. The conditions of learning can not be ignored in this scientific age. The total process of learning, therefore, has to be studied with reference to the principles of education and psychology.

8. Group Dynamics and Group Behaviour:- The study of the group dynamics and group behaviour also comes under the scope of educational psychology because a student lives in the group, learns in the group and plays in the group. A child not only affects the group behaviour but is also affected by the group behaviour. Naturally the area of guidance. and counselling finds it place in the contents of educational psychology.

Education and Educational Psychology

Education by all means, is an attempt to mould and shape the behaviour of the pupil. It aims to produce desirable changes in him for the all-round development of his personality.

"Educational Psychology helps the teacher to understand the development of his pupils, the range and limits of their capacities, the processes by which they learn and their social relationships."

In this way, the work of the Educational Psychologists resembles with that of an Engineer, who is a technical expert. The Engineer supplies all the knowledge and skill essential for the accomplishment of the job satisfactorily; for example-construction of a bridge. In the same way Educational Psychologist, who is a technical expert in the field of Education, supplies all the information, principles and techniques essential for:

  1. Understanding the behaviour of the pupil in response to educational environment and
  2. Desired modification of his behaviour to bring an all-round development of his personality.

Methods of Educational Psychology

Educational psychology like any other science, makes use of scientific methods in collecting data about learner, learning process and evaluation.

  1. To get facts about learning behaviour rather than opinions.
  2. To get goods informations so that the learner can be guided.

Educational psychology as a science of education deals with the problems of teaching and learning and helps the teacher in his task of modifying the learners behaviour and bringing about an all-round development of his personality.

Therefore, while in psychology the scope of study and the field of operation are extended to cover the behaviour of all living organisms related to all their life activities in educational psychology, the scope of such behavioural study is limit within the confines of the teaching. learning processes, i.e.studying the behaviour of the learners in relation to their educational environment and the all-round development personality.

Thus the subject of educational psychology must be centred around the process of teaching and learning for enabling the teacher and learner to do their jobs as satisfactory as possible. Thus educational psychology definitely covers the topics helpful in suggesting principles and techniques for the selection of the learning experience appropriate to each developmentstage of the childhood.

Aims and Objectives of Educational Psychology

Aims and objectives of educational psychology can be understood in relation to educational philosophy. Skinner points out that educational philosophy answers primarily question for what and why. But the questions of how and when are dealt by educational psychology. For example, what is the meaning of human life? What is the meaning of the world? What is knowledge? What is the aim of education? What shall we teach? Why should we teach? All these questions of what and why relate to philosophy of education.

On the other hand, how the meaning of human life and world could be taught and explained? When is it proper to teach? How can the aims of education be achieved? When it is possible to introduce the teaching of particular subject? All these questions are answered by educational psychology. In other words, we can say that some of the aims and objectives of educational psychology are:

  1. To understand the learner.
  2. To understand the teaching process.
  3. To understand and explain the manner in which the processes may be facilitated by the teacher.
  4. To help the teacher to set up appropriate learning situations according to interests, aptitudes, developmental stages and mental level of the pupils.
  5. To help the teacher in defining, planning and organising or providing guidance programmes.
  6. To help the teacher in planning out the proper evaluation techniques and to make an assessment of interests, aptitudes, achievements, personality and intelligence of the pupils.

To sum up, aims and objectives of educational psychology may be stated as the development of wholesome personality and continuous educational growth and development.

Need of Educational Psychology

The needs of Educational Psychology are as follow:

  1. To know individual differences of learner and teacher.
  2. To know attitude of learner and teacher.
  3. To know Aptitude/Potential of learner and teacher.
  4. To know interest of learner and teacher.
  5. To know the problems of learner.
  6. To know about teaching learning process.

Limitations of Educational Psychology

To study the limitations of educational psychology is one of the most important ways of ascertaining the nature and scope of educational psychology. Some of the limitations of educational psychology are as follows:

1. New and Complex Science:- Educational psychology is a new and complex science. Hence we have not made much advancement in this field. Moreover, it is not yet highly integrated science. Like other sciences, it has a vast number of facts but it has not been able to integrate the multitude of facts into any closed knit pattern.

2. Complexity of Psychological phenomena:- Another difficulty is found in the fact that psychological phenomena are more complex and harder to study than the phenomena of physical science.

3. Problem of Individual Differences:- There is a problem of individual differences. Memory, perception, reasoning and learning capacity are not same in all people and we have to use many times "other things being equal", which is quite unscientific in spirit.

4. Lacks Exactness:- Laws of educational psychology are not exact as the laws of physical and natural sciences as human nature is not the same.

5. Difficulty in Applying Laboratory Findings:- We cannot apply the results of physical laboratories on school pupils or in classroom situation. Physical laboratories quite often use animals and these results cannot be applied to school children and college or university students.

6. Changing Environment:- Educational environment is always in flux. It changes from place to place and moment to moment.

7. Conflicting Interpretations:- Another limitation or difficulty of educational psychology is conflicting interpretation of conflicting schools which may lead to confusion.


In Conclusion, we can say that educational psychology has contributed considerably to the creation of the modern system of education. In teaching, we are dealing with three elements – the teacher, the student, and the subject. It has helped teachers, headmasters, administrators, inspectors, guidance and counselling workers, social workers to significantly develop an impartial and sympathetic attitude towards children and form them into integrated personalities.

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