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Change and Development Lifespan

Course Code: CFCS 1130
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Department: Child, Family & Community Studies
Credits: 3.0
Semester: Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: Fall
course overview

This introductory course explores how human development changes across the lifespan. Drawing on major developmental theories and the lived experience, students will investigate human development in the context of biological, physical, emotional, cognitive, contextual and cultural influences. Emphasis will be placed on major transitions from fetal development to death. The impact of ethnicity, psycho-social and cultural factors will be examined.

Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  1. The study of development encompasses the physical, psychosocial, biosocial and cognitive domains within the lifespan perspective.
  2. A bio-ecological approach to development provides a comprehensive and inclusive lens from which to understand the complexity of the human journey.
  3. Respect for diversity begins with understanding, accepting and celebrating differences in individuals as well as their life trajectories and cultures.
  4. Neuroplasticity allows for change across the entirety of the lifespan.
  5. Multiple disciplines inform our understanding of human development and emphasize the evolving nature of knowledge about people living their lives.
  6. Understanding and reflecting on one's own lived experience provides a fruitful path to understanding the lives of others. 
  7. Understanding and reflecting on our cultural diversity allows us to examine differences through an intersectional approach
  8. Understanding the contributions research make when investigating lifespan development

Methods of Instruction

  • Lecture
  • Student Presentations
  • Group Work
  • Audio Visual Presentations
  • Other, i.e. online activities

Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations, and in accordance with CFCS Grading Standards and Douglas College Policy. 

  • Written assignments
  • Group presentations
  • Self-assessment
  • Testing
  • Participation in classroom activities

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

1.  Describe major milestones in the development of the individual, including

  • Biosocial development from conception to death
  • Physical development from conception to death
  • Cognitive development from birth to death
  • Psychosocial development across the lifespan
  • Neurobiological development

2.   Describe concepts from the major theories of human development

  • Identify the similarities and differences of these concepts in how they view individual development
  • Apply developmental theories to research findings and current social policies and practice
  • Critically analyze the strengths and limitations of these theories from an ethical stance while working with people
  • Critically analyze the development of these theories in relation to larger issues in society such as ethnicity, gender, contextual and cultural factors

3.  Critically explore how Lifespan development theory may be applied to

  • Personal development
  • Development of another individual
  • Ecological and systemic development of families, groups and communities

4. Describe how diversity impacts all realms of development

  • Identify personal biases in considering the development of diverse populations
  • Explore the practice implications of adopting an inclusive stance

5. Describe the impacts of trauma and other risk factors on development across the lifespan

  • Critically analyze the impact of poverty, abuse, discrimination and other forms of trauma
  • Identify the role of neuroplasticity in response to traumatic events across the lifespan
  • Explore the relationship between factors of risk and resiliency

6.  Describe various research methods used in lifespan development such as

  • Research methodology
  • Data collection methods
  • Surveys, interviews, case studies
  • Experimental methodology

course prerequisites






curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.