Behavioral learning models behaviorists explain

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Unformatted text preview: r of interruptions changes. Behavioral Learning Models Behaviorists explain learning by developing models of how stimuli can produce relatively permanent changes in behavior. Contiguity learning and classical conditioning are two behavioral learning models that focus exclusively on the role of eliciting stimuli in producing learning, while operant conditioning is the behavioral learning model that uses antecedents and consequences to explain learning. Contiguity Learning “A combination of stimuli which was accompanied by movement will on its reoccurrence tend to be followed by that movement” (Guthrie, 1935, p. 26). 6 This quotation from the work of Edwin R. Guthrie (1886-1959) describes the contiguity principle, which is the basis for contiguity learning. Contiguity learning occurs when an eliciting stimulus and response become connected because they have occurred together. As a result of this connection, when the eliciting stimulus occurs in the future, the connected response tends to occur. In classrooms, this often is accomplished by having students practice the desired response when the eliciting stimulus occurs. For example, students learn to respond to fire alarms by practicing certain responses during fire drills. They may learn their math facts by producing the correct response to the eliciting stimulus of a flash card or worksheet. Practicing them together connects the problem (stimulus) and answer (response). As can be seen from the example, contiguity learning often occurs in classrooms through “drill and practice” activities. Drill and practice activities have been criticized because they tend to emphasize the learning of low-level skills at the expense of meaningful, conceptual understanding. For example, knowing that two times two is four does not mean that a student understands why two times two is four. Although this criticism has merit, it also can be argued that a conceptual understanding of mathematics will not guarantee that math facts have been committed to memory (Harris & Graham, 1996). Although contiguity learning may 7 not be the best choice for all learning objectives, it is a good choice when the goal is simply for students to connect a response to an eliciting stimulus, as is the case for simple factual learning. Classical Conditioning Classical conditioning is the second behavioral model that explains how eliciting stimuli can produce learning. Classical conditioning typically involves situations in which two stimuli become associated, and as a result, they both now elicit a similar response (Bigge & Shermis, 1999; Domjan, Cusato, & Villarreal, 2000; Simpson, 2000). Although Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) is usually credited with the discovery of the classical conditioning model, he was assisted greatly by colleagues in his laboratory. Also, as sometimes happens with scientific discoveries, similar findings were recorded independently of Pavlov and at about the same time (Windolz, 1993). (See Enriching Your Understanding 2.1) Pavlovian Example While studying the salivation response in dogs, Pavlov and his colleagues noted that the dogs in the laboratory starting saliv...
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