Two Strategies that Support Behaviorist Theories in Learning through Technology
Recently, I looked at two strategies that support behaviorist learning theory in my master’s coursework. I am a visual arts elementary teacher earning a degree in Integrating Technology into my Classroom. A behaviorist learning theory supports that “a stimulus is the initial action directed to the organism, and a response is the organism’s reaction to that action” (Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald, J., 2008). Teachers everywhere, everyday are using this approach in one form or another in their classrooms. Whether it be through reinforcing behavior to obtain classroom management or to instruct to meet certain curriculum goals, teachers are the stimuli that offer reinforcement to a learner’s reaction. Students can be stimulated through a series of steps when it comes to using technology in the classroom also.
Behaviorist theories such as reinforcing effort helps to form the student’s attitude towards his or her individual progress throughout the learning experience. Technology can be incorporated because it can “make it easier for students and teachers to track the effects of effort and facilitate more immediate feedback”(Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. 2007). This is effective because students can take more ownership over the outcome of his or her learning by seeing collective data overtime, much like a teacher would in a grade book. Once broken down into various areas, students can understand where they may be missing the mark. This idea of reinforcing effort provides a positive avenue for students to feel good about their accomplishments.
“Homework and practice” is another behaviorist notion that supports tutorial-type strategies for learning. “Having students practice a skill or concept enhances their ability to reach the expected level of proficiency” (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. 2007). As Dr. Orey acknowledges, this is more than drill and practice because after the concept is comprehended, higher level thinking can take place.
These two instructional strategies correlate with the principles established in behaviorist learning theories.
Laureate Education, Inc. (2009) Behaviorist Learning Theory [Educational video]. Baltimore: Author.
Lever-Duffy, J. & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical Foundations (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.