Starts Spring 2022
Having a strong understanding of how animals learn goes far beyond understanding the differences between positive and negative reinforcement and punishment. Mastering the finer points of how animals learn will accelerate your ability to establish new behaviors and change existing ones. This course will discuss how different types of reinforcers and patterns of reinforcement impact behavior, theories of reinforcement and how they apply to dog training, generalization, discrimination and habit and how it influences behavior. Go beyond basic learning and improve your skills as a trainer so you can help more dogs! Looking for our introductory course on instrumental learning? You can find that here.
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
- Distinguish between the different types of reinforcers
- Correctly identify and distinguish between different schedules of reinforcement
- Pattern of reinforcement
- Characteristic behavior patterns
- Choice and matching law
- Maintaining and refining behavior
- Intermittent reinforcement
- Learned industriousness and errorless learning
- Decreasing reinforcement
- Theories of Reinforcement
- Premack and Response deprivation
- Generalization and discrimination
- Define and distinguish between generalization and discrimination
- Distinguish between the different types of generalization
- Explain how to teach an animal to discriminate between two cues
- Explain how generalization and discrimination apply to dog behavior
- Instrumental learning processes
- Habit vs. goal-directed learning
- 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 the Spring of 2022.
- For all students: There will be a lecture at 6 pm Eastern time each Thursday. Class runs for about an hour. Each lecture will be conducted live and will include some interactive discussion. Lectures will also be recorded for students that are not able to attend live.
- For full students:
- Discussion sessions: There will be a discussion section at about 7 pm Eastern time each week (immediately following lecture). This session will run about an hour and we will use the time to further explore the concepts in a variety of ways. For particularly tricky content, students will participate in exercises to solidify and practice the information presented during lecture. In addition, students will have practice at applying course material directly to working with dogs. Discussions use a team-based learning format where students will be presented with a challenge then given an opportunity to discuss the challenge with their team and agree on an answer. We will then discuss the answer as a group and I will provide additional information on applications and connections to other concepts. The discussion sections are designed to create deep, transformative, and lasting learning related to course material.
- Course assessments: Full students will also receive quizzed and in-class assignments to assess their understanding of course material.
- $330 for full students (8 hours of instruction, plus in-class assignments and course quiz)
- $200 for auditors (4 hours of instruction)
If you are interested in taking this course as a full student, but cannot attend live at the currently scheduled time, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your preferred times. If I get enough requests for other time slots, I will open additional sections.
The course preview contains a sample lecture, a video message from Dr. Spaulding, and the syllabus.
Note: the system will require you to create an account to view the preview, but you will not need to enter your credit card information.
- IAABC – 4 CEUs
- CCPDT pending as of 7/7/21
- CEUs will require watching the lectures and submitting the secret words.
- IAABC – 9.5 CEUs
- CCPDT pending as of 7/7/21
- CEUs will require watching the lectures and submitting the secret words, attending 75% or more of the discussion sections and completion of work in class as well as the completion of a comprehensive quiz. The quiz must be passed with a score of 80% or higher. 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, 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.
- 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).