PORTL shaping foundations – Capturing actions (video)

In PORTL, students practice six foundational skills for shaping. One skill is capturing actions. Certain actions are more likely with certain objects. During this exercise, students practice picking objects that will make certain behaviors more likely to occur. For example, if you wanted a learner to push an object, it would be better to give … Read more PORTL shaping foundations – Capturing actions (video)

PORTL shaping foundations – Transferring actions (video)

In PORTL, students practice six foundational skills for shaping. One skill is transferring an action from one object to another object. If you want a certain action to occur, it helps to start with an object or group of objects that will make it very easy for the learner to do that action. Once the … Read more PORTL shaping foundations – Transferring actions (video)

PORTL shaping foundations – Targeting (video)

In PORTL, students practice six foundational skills for shaping. One skill is targeting. A “target” gives the learner directional clues. For example, a target can tell the learner to push an object in a certain direction or to put an object in a certain place. This can greatly speed up the shaping process. This video … Read more PORTL shaping foundations – Targeting (video)

PORTL shaping foundations – Resets (video)

In PORTL, students practice six foundational skills for shaping. The first skill is resetting an object. A “reset” occurs when the teacher returns an object to its starting place or position. This make it easier for the learner to repeat a certain behavior and to not practice other behaviors. This video explains the concept of … Read more PORTL shaping foundations – Resets (video)

PORTL reinforcer system (video)

This video demonstrates the PORTL reinforcement delivery process. It shows what happens when the correct behavior occurs: – The teacher clicks the clicker. – The learner holds out a hand. – The teacher places a block in the learner’s hand. – The learner places the block in the bowl. – The teacher’s hand returns to … Read more PORTL reinforcer system (video)

How to build your own PORTL kit

The following excerpt is from PORTL: The Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab (pages 12-13).To buy a copy of the PORTL manual or a PORTL kit, visit our Store.For more information about PORTL, please visit our resource page. PORTL requires simple, inexpensive equipment. You will need the following: A collection of at least a dozen … Read more How to build your own PORTL kit

Reflections about Reinforcement (PDF)

In the 1950s, Dr. Fred Keller wrote a book called Learning: Reinforcement Theory. The size of a small paperback novel, it’s a short book. The whole thing is about 80 pages. However, within its pages, Dr. Keller explains the basics of operant and respondent conditioning, reinforcement, punishment, extinction, intermittent reinforcement, generalization, discrimination, chaining, and more. … Read more Reflections about Reinforcement (PDF)

Building duration inside a chain (video)

Adding more duration to a behavior can sometimes be difficult, even for teachers who are good at shaping. When the teacher changes the criteria for reinforcement, the learner may wonder, “Should I do MORE of this same behavior? Or, am I supposed to do a DIFFERENT behavior?” If the learner engages in other behaviors, this … Read more Building duration inside a chain (video)

PORTL research: The power of one reinforcer

At several conferences around 2010, I heard animal trainer Bob Bailey warn about what he calls “desperation-driven clicks.” When training an animal, things don’t always work out the way the trainer planned. What can sometimes happen when things don’t go as planned is that the trainer, out of desperation or frustration, goes ahead and reinforces … Read more PORTL research: The power of one reinforcer

PORTL as a research tool

The Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab (PORTL) is a powerful tool for modeling behavior principles and for teaching students how to shape behaviors. In addition, it can be used to conduct research studies. (If you’ve never heard of PORTL, visit this article to learn more.) The simplicity of PORTL makes it ideal for research. … Read more PORTL as a research tool

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