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Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • Human Development
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    Education Standards

    Human Development - Course Map and Recommended Resources


    How to Use this Guide

    This guide provides information and resources on teaching human development across the life span in an Introduction to Psychology course. All resources are Open Access and can be downloaded or added to a Course Management System (LMS) via the hyperlinks.  

    1. According to the TAG, Lifespan Development falls within Pillar 3 (Development) and is a required topic for all Ohio Introduction to Psychology courses, along with Learning. These two chapters meet the APA recommendations for Strengthening General Psychology (Gurung, et al., 2016). In approaching this topic, you may want think about what Learning and Development have in common by emphasizing learning across the lifespan.


    This section will explore human development across the life span. This section provides an overview of physical development, cognitive development, and socioemotional development from conception to death.

    Learning Objectives

    1. Define development and give examples of physical, cognitive, and socioemotional (psychosocial) development
    2. Discuss important issues related to development
      1. Define nature and nurture
      2. Discuss continuous vs. discontinuous (stage) patterns of development
      3. Understand research methods for developmental psychology
    3. Define resilience
    4. Understand development during conception and prenatal development, infancy, early childhood, middle/late childhood, adolescence, emerging adulthood, early adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood.
    5. Understand prenatal development
      1. Identify the three prenatal stages and discuss what happens in each stage
      2. Define teratogens and identify examples
    6. Understand Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development
      1. Identify and explain Piaget’s four stages.
      2. Discuss the criticisms of Piaget’s theory
    7. Describe psychosocial development
      1. Discuss Kohlberg’s levels of moral development
      2. Discuss attachment throughout the life span, including insecure vs secure attachment
      3. Discuss parenting styles and describe Diana Baumrind’s 4 parenting styles
      4. Identify and describe Erik Erikson’s 8 psychosocial stages

    Cross Cutting Themes


    1. Discuss the ethical issues related to doing research with child participants.


    1. Discuss how  theories of development or other developmental concepts can be applied to education.

    Variations in Human Functioning

    1. Discuss why some children more resilient than others.
    2. Discuss brain development in adolescents and how it can impact their decision-making.

    Cultural and Social Diversity

    1. Discuss how various cultures treat aging adults differently, and how that could impact their development.
    2. Discuss emerging adulthood and if you believe this developmental stage is present in all cultures or not.

    Recommended Resources

    Cognitive Development in Childhood

    This module, Cognitive Development in Childhood,  in the Noba Project discusses theories of cognitive development, discusses nature and nurture, discontinuous and continuous, and how cognitive development can inform education.

    OpenStax: What is Lifespan Development?

    This section of Chapter 9: Lifespan Development Module 9.1 in Open Stax defines development, discusses the three areas of development (physical, cognitive, psychosocial), and discusses the major issues in development (nature and nurture, discontinuous and continuous).

    Research Methods in Developmental Psychology

    This module, Research Methods in Developmental Psychology, in the Noba Project discusses the various research methods and designs, and the challenges to conducting  research on development.

    Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

    The website for the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University explains resilience and provides examples of resilience in childhood. In addition to information posted on the website, there is a short video.

    Emerging Adulthood

    This module, Emerging Adulthood, in the Noba Project, discusses unique characteristics about emerging adulthood and cultural differences.

    OpenStax: Lifespan Theories

    This section of Chapter 9: Lifespan Development Module 9.2 in Open Stax discusses various theories of development including Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development, Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory of Development, and Lawrence Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development.

    OpenStax: Stages of Development 

    This section of Chapter 9: Lifespan Development Module 9.3 in Open Stax discusses the three stages of prenatal development, the impact of teratogens on the embryo or fetus, types of attachment, and Diana Baumrind’s four parenting styles. The chapter also discusses all three areas of development from conception through late adulthood.

    Attachment Through the Life Course

    This module, Attachment Through the Life Span, in the Noba Project discusses theories of attachment, attachment patterns, and insecure vs. secure attachment.

    Adolescent Development

    This module, Adolescent Development,, in the Noba Project discusses changes in physical, cognitive, and psychosocial changes during adolescence.


    This module, Aging, in the Noba Project discusses changes in physical, cognitive, and psychosocial changes during aging.

    Supplemental Resources

    Conception to Birth - Visualized (Video)

    This is a Ted Talk with Alexander Tsiaras who is an image-maker. He presents a medical visualization of development from conception to birth.

    Resilience and Well-Being

    An article in Noba Scholar titled “Resilience and Well-Being” by Harms et al. (2018) discussed various models of resilience.

    Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder impacts you, but you don’t know it  (Video)

    This is a Ted Talk presented by a Nora Boesem, a foster mother to children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

    The Strange Situation (Video)

    Here is a video of Mary Ainsworth’s Strange Situation Experiment about attachment.

    How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime (Video)

    Here is a Ted Talk by Nadine Burke Harris, M.D., a pediatrician, who presents about the impact of trauma on children’s development.

    How to raise successful kids, without over-parenting (Video)

    Here is a Ted Talk on over-parenting presented by Julie Lythcott-Haims.

    Growing and Developing

    Chapter 6 “Growing and Developing” in the Open Education Resource “Introduction to Psychology” from the University of Minnesota Libraries provides a comprehensive overview of development from conception to death.