INTRODUCTION TO EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY By:Yohana EE. The University of Dodoma Department of Psychology Module Two Intro……… What is learning? Learning is any relatively permanent change in an individual’s behavior potentials (capacity) brought about through experiences. Behavior change from “not knowing to knowing and understanding” A learning theory is an attempt to describe how people learn. Theories do not give us solutions; but they do direct our attention to those variables that are crucial in finding solutions. Theories and its importance Generally, a theory presents a systematic way of understanding events, behaviors and/or situations. A theory is a set of interrelated concepts, definitions, and propositions that explains or predicts events or situations by specifying relations among variables. Theories….. Thus, theories are by their nature abstract and not content- or topic-specific. Even though various theories of human learning may reflect the same general ideas, each theory employs a unique vocabulary to articulate the specific factors considered to be important. Theories vary in the extent to which they have been conceptually developed and empirically tested; however, “testability” is an important feature of a theory. Behaviorism One of the earliest theories to focus explicitly on learning rather than on intelligence is called behaviorism. Behaviorism was developed in the 1920s and 1930s by psychologists such as Skinner, Pavlov and Thorndike. While obviously somewhat outdated now, this theory still has a strong influence on educational Practice. Behaviorism Behavioral Learning Theory emphasizes change in behavior as the main outcome of the learning process. Behavioral theorists concentrate on directly observable phenomena. Behaviorism Bandura (1985), have expanded their view of learning to include expectations, thoughts, motivation and beliefs. According to behaviorists there are two types of learning: Classical conditioning o Operant conditioning Behaviorism Classical conditioning occurs when a natural reflex responds to a stimulus. An example of this comes from Pavlov’s experiments with dogs. In order to process food, dogs need to salivate when they eat. As all dog owners will know, what happens is that dogs will start to salivate even before eating, as soon as they have smelt or seen food. So, the external stimulus of food will cause the dog to salivate. It has become a habit that is conditioned. When confronted with particular stimuli, people as well as animals will produce a specific response. Classical conditioning Classical…………. Classical conditioning theory involves learning a new behavior via the process of association. In simple terms two stimuli are linked together to produce a new learned response in a person or animal. There are three stages to classical conditioning. In each stage the stimuli and responses are given special scientific terms. Classical….. Stage 1: Before Conditioning: In this stage, the unconditioned stimulus (UCS) produces an unconditioned response (UCR) in an organism. In basic terms this means that a stimulus in the environment has produced a behavior / response which is unlearned (i.e. unconditioned) and therefore is a natural response which has not been taught. In this respect no new behavior has been learned yet. Classical….. This stage also involves another stimulus which has no affect on a person and is called the neutral stimulus (NS). The NS could be a person, object, place etc. The neutral stimulus in classical conditioning does not produce a response until it is paired with the unconditioned stimulus. Classical………. Stage 2: During Conditioning: During this stage a stimulus which produces no response (i.e. neutral) is associated with the unconditioned stimulus at which point it now becomes known as the conditioned stimulus (CS). Classical….. Often during this stage the UCS must be associated with the CS on a number of occasions, or trials, for learning to take place. However, one trail learning can happen on certain occasions when it is not necessary for an association to be strengthened over time (such as being sick after food poisoning or drinking too much alcohol). Classical……. Stage 3: After Conditioning: Now the conditioned stimulus (CS) has been associated with the unconditioned stimulus (UCS) to create a new conditioned response (CR). For example a person (CS) who has been associated with nice perfume (UCS) is now found attractive (CR). Also chocolate (CS) which was eaten before a person was sick with a virus (UCS) is now produces a response of nausea (CR). Components of classical conditioning We can gain better understanding of classical conditioning by looking at the various components involved in Pavlov’s experiment. These are: The conditioned stimulus (CS) The unconditioned stimulus (UCS) The conditioned response (CR) The unconditioned response (UCR) Components…….. CS – The conditioned stimulus is created by learning, and therefore, does not create a response without prior conditioning. Components……… UCS- Is anything which can evoke a response without prior learning or conditioning. For example, when a dog eats some food it causes the dogs mouth to salivate. Therefore, the food is an UCS because it causes a reflex response (salivation) automatically and without the dog having to learn how to salivate. Therefore, UCS causes an automatic reflex response. Components…….. Components……. UCR- Is anything that happens automatically without you having to think about it, such as your mouth salivating at the smell of food. CR – a reflex that can be evoked in response to a conditioned stimulus ( a previous neutral stimulus). For example, the dog salivated when Pavlov rang a bell, when previously (with conditioning) the bell would not cause the dogs to salivate. NOTE: A stimulus is something which cause a physical response. Components……… Principles of classical conditioning Behaviorists have described a number of different phenomena associated with classical conditioning. Some of these elements involve the initial establishment of the response, while others describe the disappearance of a response. These elements are important in understanding the classical conditioning process. Principles……… Acquisition – is the initial stage of learning when a response is first established and gradually strengthened. For example, imagine that you are conditioning a dog to salivate in response to the sound of a bell. You repeatedly pair the presentation of food with the sound of the bell. You can say the response has been acquired as soon as the dog begins to salivate in response to the bell tone. Once the response has been acquired, you can gradually reinforce the salivation response to make sure the behavior is well learned. Principles…….. Extinction- is when the occurrences of a conditioned response decrease or disappear. In classical conditioning, this happens when a conditioned stimulus is no longer paired with an unconditioned stimulus. Spontaneous recovery- is the reappearance of the conditioned response after a rest period or period of lessened response. If the conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus are no longer associated, extinction will occur very rapidly after a spontaneous recovery. Principles……… Stimulus generalization- is the tendency for the conditioned stimulus to evoke similar responses after the response has been conditioned. For example, if a child has been conditioned to fear a stuffed white rabbit, the child will exhibit fear of objects similar to the conditioned stimulus. Discrimination- is the ability to differentiate between a conditioned stimulus and other stimuli that have not been paired with an unconditioned stimulus. For example, if a bell tone were the conditioned stimulus, discrimination would involve being able to tell the difference between the bell tone and other similar sounds. Test yourself 1. 2. What roles does classical conditioning play in the classroom? With examples describe criticism on classical conditioning. Operant conditioning Operant conditioning (sometimes referred to as instrumental conditioning) is a method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior. Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior. Operant…. For example, when a lab rat presses a blue button, it receives food pellet as a reward, but when it presses the red button it receives mild electric shock. As a result, it leans to press the blue button to avoid the red button. Operant……… Operant conditioning was coined by behaviorist B.F. Skinner, which is why you may occasionally hear it referred to as Skinnerian conditioning. As a behaviorist, Skinner believed that it was not really necessary to look at internal thoughts and motivations in order to explain behavior. Instead, he suggested, we should look only at the external, observable causes of human behavior. Operant……. Skinner used the term operant to refer to any "active behavior that operates upon the environment to generate consequences" (1953). In other words, Skinner's theory explained how we acquire the range of learned behaviors we exhibit each and every day. Operant…. His theory was heavily influenced by the work of psychologist Edward Thorndike, who had proposed what he called the law of effect. According to this principle, “actions that are followed by desirable outcomes are more likely to be repeated while those followed by undesirable outcomes are less likely to be repeated”. Operant…….. Skinner distinguished between two different types of behaviors: respondent behaviors and operant behaviors. Respondent behaviors are those that occur automatically and reflexively, such as pulling your hand back from a hot stove or jerking your leg when the doctor taps on your knee. You don't have to learn these behaviors, they simply occur automatically and involuntarily. Operant……… Operant behavior, on the other hand, are those under our conscious control. Some may occur spontaneously and others purposely, but it is the consequences of these actions that then influence whether or not they occur again in the future. Our actions on the environment and the consequences of those action make up an important part of the learning process. Skinner box Skinner…….. A Skinner box is a chamber that contains a bar or key that an animal can press or manipulate in order to obtain food or water as a type of reinforcement. The Skinner box also had a device that recorded each response provided by the animal as well as the unique schedule of reinforcement that the animal was assigned. Skinner….. Skinner identified three types of responses or operant that can follow behavior. Neutral operant's: responses from the environment that neither increase nor decrease the probability of a behavior being repeated. Skinner….. Reinforcers: Responses from the environment that increase the probability of a behavior being repeated. Reinforcers can be either positive or negative. Punishers: Responses from the environment that decrease the likelihood of a behavior being repeated. Punishment weakens behavior. Skinner….. There are two types of reinforcements: a) Positive reinforcement- addition of pleasant stimulus after correct/desirable response has emitted. E.g. praise. b) Negative reinforcement- is the removal of aversive or unpleasant stimulus e.g. stick when a correct response is emitted. Reinforcement include feedback, smile, high marks etc. It encourages and sustains desirable academic and social behavior. Skinner…… There are two types of environmental consequences that produce operant conditioning: Reinforcement-increases the probability that a response will occur. Punishment- refer to any consequence that decreases the future likelihood of behavior to recur (Mayers, 2004). Eliminates an undesirable behavior and serves a lesson for other pupils not to engage in similar behavior (Rose, 1984) (Lahey, 2001). Schedules of reinforcement In operant conditioning, schedules of reinforcement are an important component of the learning process. When and how often we reinforce a behavior can have a dramatic impact on the strength and rate of the response. A schedule of reinforcement is basically a rule stating which instances of a behavior will be reinforced. In some case, a behavior might be reinforced every time it occurs. Schedules…… Sometimes, a behavior might not be reinforced at all. Either positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement might be used, depending on the situation. In both cases, the goal of reinforcement is always to strengthen the behavior and increase the likelihood that it will occur again in the future. There are two types of reinforcement schedules. -Continuous reinforcement -Partial reinforcement Schedules……… In continuous reinforcement-the desired behavior is reinforced every single time it occurs. Generally, this schedule is best used during the initial stages of learning in order to create a strong association between the behavior and the response. Once the response if firmly attached, reinforcement is usually switched to a partial reinforcement schedule Schedules……. In partial reinforcement - the response is reinforced only part of the time. Learned behaviors are acquired more slowly with partial reinforcement, but the response is more resistant to extinction. Schedules……. There are four schedules of partial reinforcement: Fixed-ratio schedules are those where a response is reinforced only after a specified number of responses. This schedule produces a high, steady rate of responding with only a brief pause after the delivery of the reinforcer. An example of a fixed-ratio schedule would be delivering a food pellet to a rat after it presses a bar five times. Schedules…. Variable-ratio schedules occur when a response is reinforced after an unpredictable number of responses. This schedule creates a high steady rate of responding. Gambling and lottery games are good examples of a reward based on a variable ratio schedule. In a lab setting, this might involved delivering food pellets to a rat after one bar press, again after four bar presses, and a third pellet after two bar presses. Schedules……. Fixed-interval schedules are those where the first response is rewarded only after a specified amount of time has elapsed. This schedule causes high amounts of responding near the end of the interval, but much slower responding immediately after the delivery of the reinforcer. An example of this in a lab setting would be reinforcing a rat with a lab pellet for the first bar press after a 30 second interval has elapsed. Schedules…. Variable-interval schedules occur when a response is rewarded after an unpredictable amount of time has passed. This schedule produces a slow, steady rate of response. An example of this would be delivering a food pellet to a rat after the first bar press following a one minute interval, another pellet for the first response following a five minute interval, and a third food pellet for the first response following a three minute interval. Schedules…….. Choosing a Schedule Deciding when to reinforce a behavior can depend upon a number of factors. In cases where you are specifically trying to teach a new behavior, a continuous schedule is often a good choice. Once the behavior has been learned, switching to a partial schedule is often a good choice. Operant conditioning in the classroom Operant conditioning encourages positive reinforcement, which can be applied in the classroom environment to get the good behavior you want and need from your pupils. Operant conditioning uses both positive and negative reinforcements to encourage good and wanted behavior. Operant….. Behavior modification therapy is much used in clinical and educational psychology, particularly with people with learning difficulties i.e. compliments, approval, encouragement and affirmation.