Sample Education Paper on Theory Summary and Sharing Knowledge Bases

I found Behavioral Learning Theory quite interesting. With the assumption that the environment plays a major role in modeling behavior, the theory embellishes empiricism and objectivism in its approach to learning. The approach predominantly targets observable behavior, as any changes in behavior are measurable, as opposed to intrinsic events like cognition, genetics and emotion(Barker, 1994).

Learning in this theory is defined as the acquisition and or aping of new behaviors based on experience and environmental modifiers. These acquired behaviors could be as a result of: classical conditioning as demonstrated by Pavlov’s dogs experiments; Operant conditioning involving the punishment- reward system(Barker, 1994) and or the observational learning method where learning is associated with aping or copying behavior of a subject without necessarily changing your own behavior(Gagné, 1985). Barker indicates that, “learning in human beings and that in animals has a lot of resemblance”(1994). The acquisition of characters is based on response to stimulus. A learner is more likely to learn how to read well if there is a reward or punishment for good or poor reading skills respectively. Consistent reinforcement of behavior by a stimulus, in this case the punishment or reward, stirs action in the learner.

The theory cultivates a dynamic approach to learning. It insists that learning or behavioral modification cannot occur in situ and that the process of learning requires the subject to interact with the environment. Through these interactions, behavior is acquired and or modified. The introduction of stimuli reinforces the desired behavioral outcome. As such, organisms can modify their behavior through learning. I now understand how dolphins can be used in deep sea expeditions and dogs trained on how to sniff explosives.




Barker, L. M. (1994). Learning and Behavior: A Psychobiolog- ical Perspective. New York:         Macmillan.

Derry, S. J. (1992). Beyond symbolic processing: expanding horizons for educational        psychology. .Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 413-418.

Gagné, R. M. (1985). The Conditions of Learning (Vol. 4). New York: Holt, Rinehart and             Winston.