CCHU9066 Humanities
Human Learning: A Life-long Adventure

[This course is under the thematic cluster of ‘Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth’.]


Course Description

This course addresses core aspects of human learning. Together, we will explore how we learn social concepts, language, and patterns in the world throughout our lifespan. We will investigate how and to what extent different types of learning mechanisms develop, and, finally, we will consider how learning can help us to survive and better interact with others and with our rapidly changing society. By examining different types of social and cognitive learning, students will gain critical understanding of the nature of human learning as well appreciate the interactive nature of human beings by better understanding the links between learning and society.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

    1. Scientifically describe and explain how the process of human learning works.
    2. Demonstrate an understanding of how learning can change human lives in various ways.
    3. Discuss the relationship between cognitive and social learning.
    4. Support their own perspectives of human learning by drawing relevant developmental, neural, and computational evidence.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 8
Reading / Self-study 52
Fieldwork / Visits 5
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 10
Assessment: Video production 5
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 8
Assessment: Fieldwork journal writing 15
Total: 127

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Essay 30
Presentation 10
Research log 50
Tutorial participation 10

Required Reading

Introductory reading for cognitive and social learning

  • Kosslyn, M., & Rosenberg, D. (2007). Fundamentals of psychology in context. Stanford University. [Chap. 7]

Introductory reading to explore special properties of human learning

  • Thorndike, E. (1911). Animal intelligence: Experimental studies. The Macmillan Company. [Chap. 1]

 Introductory reading for language learning

  • Crystal, D. (2007). How language works: How babies babble, words change meaning, and languages live or die. Penguin. [Selected sections]

Recommended Viewing

Cognitive, neural, and social learning mechanisms

  • Learning. (2001). Discovering Psychology. WGBH. [Episode 8]

Problem solving and learning logics

  • “Math Problems” and “Square Feet?”. (1993). Candid Camera Classics for Introductory Psychology. Candid Camera, Inc., and McGraw Hill.

Language learning in childhood

  • Werker, J. (1989/2008). Infant language learning lab experiments. UBC.

Social learning

  • Story of Genie. (1994). Secret of the Wild Child. NOVA. [Except]

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr Y. Do
School of Humanities (Linguistics), Faculty of Arts
Tel: 3917 8603
Email: youngah@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr Y. Do
School of Humanities (Linguistics), Faculty of Arts
Tel: 3917 8603
Email: youngah@hku.hk