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.


30th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2004

Event Details

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Invited Symposium #324
CE Offered: None
Evidence-Based Educational Methods in Teaching Behavior Analysis
Monday, May 31, 2004
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Beacon A
Area: TBA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Daniel J. Moran (MidAmerican Psychological Institute)
CE Instructor: Daniel J. Moran, Ph.D.

When teaching evidence-based behavior change methods to students of behavior analysis, it is prudent to utilize evidence-based educational methods. Such a commitment allows for proper modeling of applied endeavors, and also helps to ensure that the students behavior will be properly changed during the instruction. An orientation to the importance of this view, given the current climate of increasing accountability of applied services, will be presented. Investigations regarding the sequential analysis of student behaviors, as well as the learning efficiency of students of the selectionistic sciences will be discussed, and will demonstrate that the application of behavior analysis to teaching behavior analysis leads to important instructional gains. In addition, behavior systems of instruction will be the thread that puckers these presentations.

No Behavior Analyst Left Behind
DANIEL J. MORAN (MidAmerican Psychological Institute)
Abstract: The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB; Public Law 107-110) encourages the use of proven pedagogical techniques that can meet the growing demand for increased accountability on the outcomes of elementary and secondary education. The legislation puts “special emphasis on determining which educational programs and practices have been proven effective through rigorous scientific research” (US Department of Education, n.d.), and suggests using evidence-based educational methods. Evidence-based education is “the integration of professional wisdom with the best available empirical evidence in making decisions about how to deliver instruction” (Whitehurst, 2003). Teaching behavior analysis methods and principles is beyond the scope of NCLB, but should also be done with proven pedagogical techniques that can meet the growing demand for increased accountability of our services. Applied behavior analysis will likely be better executed when the behavior analyst is well-trained. A survey of the effective methods of instructing students in the science and practice of behavior analysis of will be discussed, and hortatory standards of education in applied selectionistic science will be presented.
Dr. D. J. Moran is a Visiting Professor at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and is also the director of the MidAmerican Psychological Institute in Joliet, IL. He completed his doctoral degree in Clinical/School Psychology at Hofstra University under the supervision of Kurt Salzinger, and earned the J. R. Kantor fellowship in 2000 for working with Bill Verplanck (B.F. Skinner’s chairperson) on the applications of the ‘Associate Technique’ in order to improve training in psychology. D.J . is also a clinical supervisor at Howe Developmental Center in Tinley Park and is on staff at Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet. Dr. Moran was president of the Behavior Analysis Society of Illinois (BASIL) for two years and was director of graduate training at Valparaiso University for four years prior to starting at IIT. D. J.’s first co-edited book, Evidence-Based Educational Methods (Elsevier Press), will be published in January 2004. He spent the summer of 2002 running therapy groups and events with Albert Ellis, and currently practices and investigates clinical behavior analysis with anxiety, depression, and post-bariatric surgery clients. His recent scholarly work centers on natural science interpretations of cognitive therapy techniques. In 2002, Dr. Moran was lampooned by Jay Leno on the Tonite Show when a local paper announced that the BASIL Presidential Address was being given by “Doctor Moron.” When D. J. is not busy being a self-proclaimed “psych-geek,” he likes to listen to Slayer, Black Sabbath, and Iron Maiden, train for marathons, and sing ridiculously silly rap songs to his cherished offspring: Harmony Sierra (4) and Louden Justice (3).
Learning Efficiency Goes to College
GUY S. BRUCE (St. Cloud State University), Shasta Brenske (St. Cloud State University), Amber Maki (St. Cloud State University)
Abstract: CPSY 101 is an introductory general education course, which is designed to teach freshman college students how to solve human performance problems using techniques from applied behavior analysis. To successfully complete their performance improvement projects, students need to be fluent in component skills such as discriminating between behaviors and results or types of reinforcement errors. We have set up computer-based testing to measure performance improvement in specific learning objectives and asked students to graph their learning efficiencies for each objective. Learning efficiency is the improvement in the students’ accuracy and speed from pre to posttest per number of minutes of learning time. Although learning time is self-reported by students we do have computer-based measures of the performance accuracy and speed for each student in the course both prior and subsequent to their use of the learning activities for each learning objective. We will present examples of learning efficiency data for these learning objectives and describe how we make decisions to revise the course learning activities based on student learning efficiencies.
Dr. Guy Bruce first became interested in the design of more efficient learning programs while pursuing a doctorate at West Virginia University, where he had the opportunity to teach an undergraduate behavior analysis course and to direct a tutoring program for students failing calculus and chemistry. He began to evaluate both the effectiveness and efficiency of teaching activities, by measuring student performance improvement from pre- to post-test and recording the number of minutes of learning time required to produce that improvement. His dissertation compared the learning efficiencies produced by the delivering prompts during or following student responding. As an Aubrey Daniels consultant, Guy helped corporate clients measure, evaluate, and improve their training efficiencies, a method that increased their return on investment by reducing the time required to get employees fully competent. In his current position as an assistant professor at Saint Cloud State University and the Managing Partner of APEX Consulting, he continues to collect learning efficiency data and use it to improve the efficiency of his behavior analysis courses and the staff training that he provides for clients.
Demonstrating Implications and Applications of Computer-based Behavior Systems Analysis in Education Research and Assessment
THOMAS L. SHARPE, JR. (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
Abstract: An ongoing challenge with applied behavior analysis (ABA) efforts in highly interactive education settings exists with respect to (a) inclusive recording of multiple behavior and stimulus events that typify most educational settings, and (b) capture of the time-based interaction effects across multiple stimuli and response functions among teacher, student, and setting events (Sharpe, in press). One computer-based data collection and analysis protocol is first shown in summary form to demonstrate ABA capability with respect to these two challenges (Sharpe & Koperwas, 2000). Next, recent advances in behavior systems theory in the context of the importance of a sequential analysis lens are summarized in support of a means to address these challenges. Select data are presented to explicate the salient differences among more traditional discrete research and assessment activity, versus a sequential analysis-based behavior systems approach to the same education research and assessment illustration. A behavior systems approach to research and assessment activity in the education science professions is argued as essential to a more complete evaluation, diagnosis, and prescription approach to the complex configurations of stimulus–response classes that typically operate in applied education settings among teacher(s) and students. At issue are the salient differences among mechanistic and interbehavioral theoretical constructs (Morris, 1992; Sharpe & Koperwas, 2003), of which the latter is argued as facilitative of methodological development for applied education settings.
Dr. Tom Sharpe is a Professor and Doctoral Program Coordinator in the Department of Educational Leadership in the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He draws from a wealth of varied professional experiences and activities in public and private school, coaching, and university teaching settings and from a long education and social science research career in a variety of graduate programs at different universities. Trained by many of the leading applied and experimental behavior analysts in the profession at West Virginia University, Tom has pursued academic work largely in the education and social science application of behavior systems observational methodologies and in related computer-based tool development. He has authored over 100 refereed articles and book chapters and is a regular contributor to the principles and practice of applied behavior analysis through conference and workshop presentations and a variety of consulting activities.
A Behavioral World View of Higher Education
RICHARD W. MALOTT (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: MD: The practice of medicine wouldn’t be so bad, if it weren’t for the damn patients. Manager: The practice of management wouldn’t be so bad, if it weren’t for the damn workers. Prototypical Faculty Member: Teaching wouldn’t be so bad, if it weren’t for those damn students. Students today are not as serious as when we were students. And they are not as well prepared as when we were students. Why don’t we have good students here, like the ones at Harvard University? Behaviorman: Please don’t blame the victims. Famous Behavior Analyst: Many students fail to study enough for my courses. That’s because other things, like their social lives, have a higher priority. Those students have decided to pursue their social lives, rather than their academic career. Behaviorman: Come on, man, that’s just cheap cognitive rationalization. The reason they don’t study is that you haven’t made the effort to arranged effective performance-management contingencies to support their studying. Behavior Woman: Behavior analysts, please don’t blame the victim. Etc. This will be a non-data-based. multi-media presentation.
Dr. Dick Malott received his BA in psychology at Indiana University in 1958 where he was privileged to study with James Dinsmoor. He received his PhD at Columbia University in 1963 where he had the additional privilege of studying with William Cumming, W. N. Schoenfeld, and Fred S. Keller. Then he taught with the Kantorians at Denison University from 1963 to 1966. In 1966, he helped start the behavior-analysis program at Western Michigan University (WMU), where he continues to teach. At WMU, he also helped start an intro psych course that taught behavior analysis to 1,000 students per semester, with the aid of 500 lab rats and 100 Skinner boxes (1,000 lever-pressing rats per year). Now, his students only condition 230 rats per year, but they also do 130 self-management projects and provide 13,500 hours of training to autistic children each year. Malott and his students have packaged their teaching/learning efforts in educational systems known as the Student-Centered Education Project (aka The First Fly-by-night Underground College of Kalamazoo), the Behavioral Social Action Program, and the Behavior Analysis Training System. Currently, every summer, he teaches the Behavioral Boot Camp, an intense 18-hour-per-week, 7.5 week, graduate-level, behavior-analysis seminar.



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