Group 1 Home


This theory is based on observable behaviors. It states that learning in school is like acquiring a new behavior. It requires positive and negative reinforcement to obtain the desired result. There are two basic parts of Behaviorism: Classic Conditioning and Behavioral or Operant Conditioning. Classic conditioning is the basic response to a stimulus. For example, dogs salivate when they see food. Operant conditioning is when a response is reinforced through repeptitive tasks. This threory was very popular when teachers lectured and students did nothing other than taking notes and asking basic questions. This fits right into the ideal of the teacher being the holder of knowledge. This theory assumes that by repeptitive lectures, common activities, and structured education, learning will become an aquired skill reached through operant conditioning. Unfortunately, this theory does not account for different types of learners (ie. visual, auditory, etc.). It can not fit into the evolving world of education today because the internet provides students with several ways to obtain information. The theory of behaviorism is no longer a viable option for educators.
Information found at Funderstanding.


Leading theorists involved included Ivan Petrovich Pavlov and B.F. Skinner. The founder of Behaviorism was John Watson, in the 1920s.

In the spirit of B.F. Skinner, Behaviorism is still used today in the training of animals. This video is a short documentary on Skinner, Behaviorism, the experiments of Skinner, and the use of it today. This video is a great example of how Pavlov's Dogs experiment can be associated with the training of humans even today.

For a different point of view on learning theories, look at Constructivism and Inquiry Based Learning. Also see Are Learners Different Today?