PORTL stands for the “Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab.”

PORTL is a tabletop game that provides an interactive environment for learning about behavior principles and investigating behavioral phenomena. It is played using a collection of small objects, a clicker to select behavior, and small blocks as reinforcers. Read more here.

PORTL manual cover

In 2019, Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz and Mary Hunter published the PORTL manual. The manual explains how to use PORTL to explore the principles of behavior, improve your teaching skills, and conduct research projects.

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This page contains supplemental articles, videos, and other resources that will help you learn even more as you are working through the exercises in the PORTL manual.

PORTL Manual Resources

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Chapter 1: Getting Started with PORTL

movie icon What is PORTL? – This article and video explain the basics of PORTL.

PORTL kit instructions – How to assemble your own PORTL kit.

Chapter 2: The Reinforcement System

movie icon Reinforcement delivery – A video of the basics, including why the blocks and clicker are used.

Chapter 4: Foundational Skills for Shaping

Students practice six foundational skills for shaping in the PORTL manual. These skills are resets, targeting, capturing actions, transferring actions, changing the criteria for reinforcement, and chaining.

movie icon Resets – A video of how to reset an object while shaping.

movie icon Targeting – A video of how to use a target to teach a behavior.

movie icon Capturing actions – This video explains the concept of capturing actions.

movie icon Transferring actions – This video explains the concept of transferring actions.

Chapter 5: Designing Shaping Plans

In Chapter 5, students combine the skills they learned and practiced in Chapter 4. They use these skills as they practice writing and implementing shaping plans.

movie icon Push a car sideways – An example shaping plan and video for how to teach this behavior.

Chapter 7: Stimulus Control

– This video shows how a delay procedure can be used to change a cue.

Chapter 9: Behavior Chains

movie icon Building duration using chains – Describes how chains can be used to build duration

movie icon Conditional chain video – Demonstrates teaching a conditional chain without errors

Chapter 12: Research

PORTL as a research tool – This short article discusses using PORTL for research.

The power of one reinforcer – A PORTL research project that was published in 2019 in JEAB

Appendix: Data Sheets

Please see the Appendix of the PORTL manual for more information about how to use these data sheets and for examples.

Note: These data sheets may be printed and photocopied in their original form for noncommercial use. If you wish to use them in some other way, please contact us first.

My Shaping Plan Worksheet

Teacher Data Sheet

Learner Data Sheet (shorter version)

Learner Data Sheet (longer version)

Observer Data Sheet

Shaping Skills Checklist