Applying Learning Theories

The Behavioral Theory or behaviorism stresses on the learning of facts and skills as stated by the authorities. For example, school board and the teachers. Behaviorist believes the environment is a great influencing factor in the process of learning. The theory of behavioral learning also contends that contiguity and reinforcement, whether positive or negative, are essential to the learning process. Characteristics Behavior, which is positively reinforced, will occur again. discontinuous reinforcement is particularly successful. Information must be presented in small proportions so that responses can be reinforced (shaping) Reinforcements arouse similar stimuli (stimulus generalization) producing secondary conditioning. Principles Practice takes in the form of question (stimulus) – answer (response) frames which expose the student to the subject in gradual steps The learner must make a response for every frame and receive immediate feedback There is a gradual introduction of difficult questions to get positive response and thus leading to positive reinforcement. The good responses must be followed with the positive reinforces such as verbal praise, good grades etc. 2 B.F.Skinner’s Behaviorist theory works on the similar grounds of conditioning theory as proposed by Pavlov and Watson. They observed that the formation of behavior is essentially related to the external environment .Pavlov established the classical conditioning paradigm. Watson studied overt behavior and concentrated on the conditioning of emotions. Skinner model of behavior is based on observation, he studied environment control on the behavior and explained operant behavior rather than respondent behavior played greater role in life. An Operant conditioning can become a means for behavior modification. When a particular Stimulus-Response (S-R) pattern is reinforced (rewarded), the individual is conditioned to respond. The distinctive characteristic of operant conditioning relative to previous forms of behaviorism is that the organism can emit responses instead of only eliciting response due to an external stimulus. (B.F Skinner) Reinforcement is main constituent in the Skinners S-R Theory and a rein forcer is anything that strengthens a response. Good grades, a verbal praise, feeling of accomplishment are all positive rein forcers. There are negative rein forcers that refer to adverse stimulus or response. A great deal of attention is given to schedules of reinforcement and their effects on establishing and maintaining behavior. Behaviorist theory and Instruction Design The Behaviorist theory is involved in the following. Behavioral objectives movement. the teaching machine phase. the programmed instruction movement. individualized instructional approaches, computer-assisted learning and the systems approach to instruction. Based on operant conditioning Skinner’s teaching machine required the learner to complete or answer a question and then receive feedback on the correctness of the response. Skinner demonstrated his machine in 1954.Programmed instructions concentrated on the hardware than on the course development. Individualized instructions are used in reading science, math .Computer assisted learning is much a drill, and practice controlled by program me developer rather by the learner. The system approach is employed in the language laboratories, teaching machines, multimedia presentations etc. Most systems approaches are similar to computer flow charts