Everything animals do is affected by learning. This includes unhealthy or maladaptive behavior such as aggression and anxiety as well as simple, everyday behavior such as interactions with family members, strangers, and other dogs. In addition, learning is affected by everything we do and experience. Things like trauma and success, as well as feeling excited or scared after a particular experience, all affect how animals learn.
As dog trainers, we need to have a very strong foundation in learning theory if we want to effectively establish new behaviors and modify old ones. This class is an excellent way to establish that knowledge.
Introduction to Learning covers the biology of learning, instrumental conditioning, classical conditioning, the role of emotion in learning as well as the application and integration of these topics. Throughout the class, students will have multiple opportunities to use in-class activities to further their understanding of the material and to receive feedback regarding their progress in the course. I also offer an advanced learning class for students that are already comfortable with the basics, or who are interested in going further after completing the introductory course. That course will be offered in January 2020 and will be announced via my mailing list.
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
- Define learning and explain how it influences behavior
- Explain how learning is influenced by biological factors such as genetics and natural selection
- Discuss the relationship between physiology and behavior
- Define, recognize, and apply instrumental conditioning concepts including:
- Instrumental conditioning
- Antecedent, behavior, consequence
- Negative and positive punishment and reinforcement
- Factors that influence instrumental learning
- Explain the different methods of producing behaviors in dogs (e.g. shaping, chaining, luring)
- Define, recognize, and apply classical conditioning concepts including:
- Classical conditioning
- Conditioned and unconditioned stimuli and responses
- Define emotion and discuss how it influences behavior
- Assess different methods of addressing fear in dogs and the proper application of each
- Make predictions about how an individual might learn under particular conditions and how that learning will affect behavior.
- Apply knowledge of learning to working with dogs
- Be able to analyze, integrate and apply new information to fit into current framework of knowledge. If it doesn’t fit into current framework, be able to pursue novel paths of thinking.
I believe that the most effective learning occurs when students are not only provided with the facts, but also provided ample opportunity to use that information in concrete ways, engage in challenging activities, interact with others and receive frequent feedback on their progress.
Therefore, this course will be taught using an approach that encourages collaboration and active learning. While there will be time spent lecturing, time in class will be also be spent working on interactive activities and completing brief assignments.
I began my teaching career by teaching at a university and I hold students in my online courses to the same standards. I have high expectations for engagement and quality of work. However, I also strongly feel that if I am going to set a high bar, that I need to step up and make sure my students can reach it. This means that I hold myself to a very high standard as well and I love it when students reach out if they are struggling with the material in any way. I am happy to help. If you haven’t taken a college course before, but are willing to put in the work and reach out for help if needed, then you should do well in this course.
The next course will start in May of 2021. Class runs for about an hour. Each lecture will be conducted live and will include interactive discussion. There will be at least one in-class assignment each week as well. In addition to the in-class assignments, there will be two quizzes that will need to be completed outside of class.
If you are interested in this course, but cannot attend live at the currently scheduled time, please e-mail email@example.com with your preferred times. If I get enough requests for other time slots, I will open additional sections.
Not sure? Check out our class preview! The preview contains a sample lecture, a video message from Dr. Spaulding, the syllabus and a quiz to test your knowledge!
Note: the system requires you to create an account to view the preview, but you will not need to enter your credit card information.
CCPDT: 10 CEUs for behavior consultants
IAABC: 9.25 CEUs
CEUs will require completion of work in class as well as the completion of two quizzes. Quizzes must be passed with an 80% or higher and 80% or more of all in-class work must be submitted in order to earn CEUs. If you receive less than 80% on the quiz you may retake the quiz once, after contacting the instructor for clarification on the missed questions. Refunds will not be granted if you are unable to attend class and therefore unable to complete the required work. Excused absences will be granted in case of emergencies and illness (with proper documentation).
Registration will open in October 2020
- Refunds, minus a $10 processing fee, will be granted if requested up to 2 days before the start of class. After that, 50% refunds will be granted.
- Refunds are not available after the start of class.