Behaviorism is an approach that suggests that learning can be brought about through manipulation of behavior. Among the famous behaviorists was Dr. B. F. Skinner or Burrhus Frederic Skinner.

B F Skinner - Behaviorist - Operant Conditioning - Instructional Design.

B.F. Skinner was an American Professor of Psychology. He was educated at Harvard and spent most of his working life as Harvard Professor. Skinner invented machines that helped him capture data from his experiments, which in turn helped him formulate his teaching methodologies that were based on behaviorist principles.

He is best known for giving the theory of Operant Conditioning, in which he said that one learned through the feedback that is received from the environment upon which the learner operates.

His most famous invention is the Skinner Box, which he used to conduct his Operant Conditioning experiments on the mice.

Skinner is also know for writing the novel “Walden Two,” in which he describes a utopian society that’s built on behaviorist principles. (I started reading this book, but in absence of a reasonable reward, I’ve not been able to move beyond the first few pages.)

When we ask a learner to repeat something over and over (practice,) grade a learner’s performance, provide rewards for good performance, or punish an undesirable behavior (such as non-submission of an assignment,) we see ourselves applying behaviorism.

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Silly rabbit, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons