Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Symposium #354
CE Offered: BACB
Pedagogical Approaches for Teaching Behavior Analysis in Higher Education
Monday, May 26, 2008
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Area: TBA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Michael J. Cameron (Simmons College)
CE Instructor: Susan Ainsleigh, Ed.D.

Currently, one-hundred and twenty university course sequences are approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and thirteen university programs are accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International to provide post-secondary training in the area of applied behavior analysis. Each of these programs seeks to teach adults about the science of behavior analysis, to prepare graduates for the acquisition of credentials in the field of behavior analysis, and, to some extent, to prepare the newly credentialed practitioner to demonstrate the principles and knowledge learned in a variety of applied settings. To this end, faculty and administrators in higher education programs must make decisions regarding instructional design. Programs providing experiential learning opportunities for students must determine how these programs can result in a transfer of acquired knowledge to a variety of applied settings. Faculty assisting students in preparing for credentialing examinations must identify effective methods for students to prepare for the rigor of an international examination. This symposium presents four papers devoted to the instruction of graduate students in a behavior analytic program. Topics include effective instructional design models, supervision of behavior analysts, study tactics, and assisting students in cross-disciplinary applications of methodological practice.

Instructional Design for Teaching Behavior Analysis.
MICHAEL J. CAMERON (Simmons College), Russell W. Maguire (Simmons College)
Abstract: Outcomes for graduate students from a program in applied behavior analysis include: the integration of knowledge, skills and attitudes; the management of qualitatively different constituent skills; and the transfer of what is learned to diverse educational settings. Instructional Design, a branch of knowledge concerned with research and theory about instructional strategies, offers a useful model for teaching complex task performances to graduate students. The purpose of this study was to compare an instructional format, based on the principles of Instructional Design, to a traditional (didactic) instructional method for teaching: (1) verbal skills, (2) intellectual skills, (3) psychomotor skills, and (4) cognitive strategies related to the field of applied behavior analysis. Participants were assigned to one of two groups (i.e., the Instructional Design group or the didactic group). We used multi-method assessment to evaluate learning outcomes - dependent variables included: (1) the duration of instruction, (2) accuracy of performance, and (3) the capacity of each “trainee” to effectively transfer knowledge to another person. Results showed that the graduate students taught via an Instructional Design model spent 50% less time in instruction and performed with greater accuracy than the students from the didactic instruction group. The discipline of Instructional Design logically links to the field of applied behavior analysis and application of the principles yield measurably superior instruction.
Supervision of Graduate Students in Applied Behavior Analysis: Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation.
SUSAN AINSLEIGH (Simmons College)
Abstract: Students preparing for board certification in applied behavior analysis through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB®) must complete an extensive experiential learning component during their studies. In March 2006, the BACB® distributed revised requirements for supervision. Currently, applicants for board certification must have completed a defined number of hours practicing behavior analysis in an applied setting, and must have had a pre-determined percentage of those hours supervised by a board certified practitioner. This symposium describes the development of a supervision program for graduate students at a university in eastern Massachusetts, from its beginning semester to its conclusion near the end of a student’s graduate experience. The focus of the symposium will be on the content of the supervision experience; that is, the alignment of learning outcomes of each semester of a 4-semester experiential learning program with various levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956). This taxonomy of learning behaviors has been described as the “goals of the educational process” (Bloom, 1956). A 4-semester, experiential learning program, including individual and group supervision, has been developed as a component for master-level study in behavior analysis so that each semester methodologically targets progressively higher levels of learning in each of the major content areas on the BACB® Task List. Development of syllabi, training of supervisors, implementation of methods, and evaluation of outcomes is reviewed. Descriptions and video-clips of sessions are presented to illustrate various components.
Preparing for Examinations: A Comparison of Strategies for Studying and Corresponding Test Performance.
REBECCA FONTAINE (Needham Public Schools), Susan Ainsleigh (Simmons College), Michael J. Cameron (Simmons College)
Abstract: Students preparing for examinations use a variety of strategies to review information. Flashcards are often used to document and review key concepts taught. The use of flashcards requires an intraverbal response from the student upon seeing the front of the flashcard (Skinner, 1957). Elaboration is a basic memory technique that involves expanding upon a concept or topic. Elaboration has been associated with improved memory (Craik & Lockhart, 1972). This study examined the effects of study using flashcards and study requiring elaboration on both multiple choice test performance and essay test questions. Results showed that students who studied using flashcards alone demonstrated higher accuracy scores on multiple choice tests than on essay tests, and that elaboration techniques resulted in higher test scores on both test formats.
Promoting Applied Stimulus Control Research: Supporting Graduate Student Research in Stimulus Class Formation.
TERRI M. BRIGHT (Simmons College), Russell W. Maguire (Simmons College), Michael J. Cameron (Simmons College)
Abstract: Graduate programs in behavioral analysis have an obligation to ensure that students are well-rounded and able to apply a variety of stimulus control protocols, across a variety of subject populations. In the present study, a graduate student was mentored to conduct a stimulus class research involving dogs as subjects. Initially, the graduate student had enrolled for and participated in coursework that resulted in a terminal Master's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and prepared her to take the Behavior Analyst Certification exam. Two courses, Advanced Behavior Analysis and a Stimulus Equivalence research course provided the student with the baseline knowledge regarding class formation and equivalences. A final requirement was an applied research prospectus applying this knowledge. Through a systematic and formal mentoring system the graduate student was able to combine her profession (Dog Trainer) with behavior analysis. As a result, she was able to conduct an experiment investigating the formation of stimulus classes in an applied setting. The results are discussed in terms of how to support students of behavioral analysis to apply sophisticated stimulus control procedures in applied settings where they work or may have an interest.



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