An educational psychologist is an expert in learning processes implemented through technical-professional education programs mainly held in workplaces and other real-life settings. Their aim is to help people learn new things easily and effectively, reducing the effort and stress involved as much as possible. They normally focus on adults, but they may also work with young people. They generally work at training and professional refresher courses, as well as educational facilities like teaching-training centres. They work alongside people on the fringe of psychology, such as sociologists, economists, business administrators and directors of training agencies.
The first step to becoming an educational psychologist is to get a master’s degree in psychology, pass the board examination and then be licenced in section A of the Association of Psychologists in order to work freelance. The main subjects to be studied are educational psychology and counselling, psychology of further education, psychology of human resources, developmental and educational psychology, social psychology, industrial and organisational psychology. Complementary subjects include organisational science, business, economics and sociology. As always, it is advisable to specialise in your education and, above all, to attend training courses and internships specialising in education, like, for example, agencies organising training courses and services. Finally, it is always advisable to take specialist master’s or postgraduate courses.
Educational psychologists intervene to make professional and technical learning programs more effective, so they are as beneficial as possible for both those taking part and the company or organisation providing them. An educational psychologist follows every aspect of training courses: from mapping the potential, needs and goals of those taking part to methods of sharing knowledge, such as lectures, experience-sharing or knowledge management. Another important aspect is studying the psychological processes implicit in learning and acquiring skills, particularly among adults and in real life settings: other relevant factors come into play here, such as the role of feedback, optimum ways of providing content, the importance of context, the usefulness of giving examples and pointers. Another key task is to analyse the personal-social traits of those taking part in the training programme: in this case things like styles of learning, the role of motivation and the influence of emotional factors all become relevant.
An educational psychologist works in all those places where technical learning programs are planned and implemented. Their work is mainly focused on adults and usually held at workplaces or in real-life settings. Typical working environments include human resource offices of major companies and organisations, training agencies and centres, and also places like employment centres. They may also work freelance, devising, planning and assessing training projects commissioned by external clients. Bearing in mind the intrinsically applied nature of their expertise, if they opt to get involved in research, educational psychologists will focus on studies linked directly with practical training experience.