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Psychology, Business Studies & Rainbows End: integrated learning & assessment

An integration of Psychology 91847 Examine how theory is used in fields of psychological practice and Business Studies 90847 Investigate the application of motivation theory in a business led 55 students and 2 teachers to Rainbows End to experience how integration of assessment can enhance teaching and learning.



The focus of this integrated module class was ‘motivation’, how a New Zealand business uses psychology to motivate their employees and influence (or motivate) their customers. Students studied a range of motivation theories like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory within Industrial/Organisational Psychology and the theory of Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) in Media Psychology and how these are applied in the fields to change human behaviour in a variety of business contexts. For their summative assessment, they were treated to a trip to Rainbows End to talk to the business managers about how they motivate their employees, chat to staff about their experience working at the park and to investigate the advertisement and media products used. They then enjoyed the rides before returning to school and writing their findings up in a report, relating back to the theories they had previously learned about.



Students of course appreciated a fun trip to Rainbows End, but their feedback showed that the goal of the trip to have them connect their knowledge of Psychology, Business Studies and its use in a NZ Business paid off, with students commenting:


  • I liked the rainbows end trip very much. It was cool how we understood how the theories were implemented in a real life context.

  • Rainbows end was good as we were able to use the idea of those workers and the way the employers treat their employees. Was a good tie in for the fun of the experience and understanding usage of theories.

  • I liked learning about psychology and business studies in an integrated way.


While it wasn’t without its challenges, the integration of these two Social Science subjects was an engaging learning experience for both students and teachers and would happily be repeated by all those involved.


So if considering integration, here a couple of things to keep in mind:


  • Determine a shared language for the teaching, learning and assessment of both subjects - this will allow students to understand the shared knowledge easier.

  • Use a critical friend to check your teaching/learning plan and assessment task - NZAPT could be this!

  • Use NZQA resources - they currently offer a bite-sized learning module of combining Psychology 91874 and Statistics 91583 assessments for conducting research

  • Be flexible - integration can be in a number of ways, from fully integrated units and assessments to sharing a context, skills or knowledge to enhance teaching and learning in two subject areas.


Unique assessment modes and integration is encouraged by NZQA, so if you have thought about it, now is the time to give it a go. And as always, NZAPT are here to help. We can critique assessment tasks and moderate samples, just email NZAPT@hotmail.com with any questions you have!

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