Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #59
Higher Order Behaviors and Instructional Design
Saturday, May 26, 2007
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
America's Cup C
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Roger D. Ray ((AI)2, Inc.; Rollins College)
Abstract: Aside from research on relational frames, behavioral researchers have paid relatively little attention to "higher-order classes of behavior." Perhaps best known in the early literature is Harlow’s learning set phenomenon, which he described as learning how to learn. Catania describes other classes as well, including identity matching, learned helplessness, and Estes’ rules, principles, and strategies. Catania includes some types of attention-getting behaviors, novel behaviors, observational learning, generalized imitation, instruction-following, as well as some forms of manding and remembering behaviors. But Catania deals only in passing with such abstract classes as those often considered by cognitive psychologists as "meta-skills." Especially ignored are those meta-skills typically targeted by advanced educational curricula, such as quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and evaluation, and reading or even audio-visual comprehension. This symposium brings together various authors working at this instructional design frontier from a behavioral perspective.
Fluent Thinking Skills: Creating Question Generating Repertoires in Elementary-Aged Learners in the U.S. and South Africa.
JOANNE K. ROBBINS (Morningside Academy), T. V. Joe Layng (Headsprout)
Abstract: The use of questions in teaching and learning has a rich history in the literature on thinking (and reading comprehension). Most questioning strategies have emphasized the value of teachers or others asking the right questions in order to increase learners’ abilities to focus, observe, recall, compare, group, label, classify, sequence, predict, and infer. Attempts to provide learners to question independently, that is, without a teacher or adult offering questions, can be found in certain study techniques. Examples can be found in SQ3R and Learning–to–Learn study skills programs. This presentation describes a Fluent Thinking Skills (FTS) program for elementary–aged learners. With FTS students learn to think analytically through a program that initially teaches a version of Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS) designed for young learners. Next, they learn to make predictive questions concerning text to be learned or a problem situation, then, using TAPS, they make a best–guess attempt at answering the question, and most importantly, they find the discrepancy between the best guess and the information presented.
A Behavioral Systems Approach to Quantitative Problem Solving Behaviors: A Tentative Taxonomy to Guide Research.
JESSICA M. RAY (University of Central Florida), Roger D. Ray ((AI)2, Inc.; Rollins College), Jennifer S. Queen (Rollins College )
Abstract: Quantitative Problem Solving (QPS) is an educational arena often left to cognitive and constructionistic approaches to instructional design--especially at the advanced curricular levels where the crises of prior ineffective educational strategy becomes most apparent: in secondary and post-secondary educational environments. While QPS is an issue educators can little afford to ignore, mentalistic explanations and approaches often lack the operational qualities necessary to direct structured research and teaching strategies at these advanced educational levels. It is our belief that direct behavioral instructional methods need to rise to meet the challenges of such advanced "higher-order" behavioral development. In this spirit, we present a naturalistic behavioral taxonomy that defines some critical QPS behaviors through structural, functional, and operational analyses of QPS as an integrated behavioral system. Our taxonomy begins by emphasizing four global and functional behavioral product domains that include the production of linguistic, graphic, symbolic, and modeled/constructed outcomes. Various classes of higher-order behaviors that are expressed through such domains include, but are not limited to, representing, translating, associating, abstracting, transforming, generating, applying, and evaluating. Instructional designs that intend to apply any or all of our taxonomy in application give rise to unique and complex assessment issues.
Designing Adaptive Instruction to Teach Content-Specific and Generalized Audio-Visual Comprehension Behaviors.
ROGER D. RAY ((AI)2, Inc.; Rollins College), Jennifer S. Queen (Rollins College ), Brittany L. Lee (Rollins College), Melanie A. Tumlin (Rollins College)
Abstract: A behavioral model for adaptive intelligent tutoring via computer has been described in numerous publications. The software system incorporating this model, called MediaMatrix, to date presents conceptual content via text only, with minor exceptions involving occasional still-graphic figures and illustrations,. In other words, the content per se is much like printed textbooks. Ray and Belden (2007) present preliminary evidence on the efficacy of this system for teaching introductory psychology content and, simultaneously, improving SAT/GRE type reading comprehension assessment scores in college students. In the present symposium presentation we review developmental and assessment progress concerning a parallel adaptive instructional design strategy for teaching content and higher-order comprehension behaviors relying upon video-based content presentations rather than text. We have been impressed with the lack of research attention to this educational medium vis-a-vis assessment of its behavioral impact. We discuss a set of design goals and mechanics which target concurrent development of content-specific verbal and graphic associate accuracy and fluency as well as more generalized higher-order behaviors with respect to audio/visual comprehension behaviors.
Teaching Functional Assessment: Does Order of Client Cases Make a Difference?
MARCIE DESROCHERS (State University of New York, Brockport), Darlene E. Crone-Todd (Delta State University)
Abstract: The explosion of instructional software using computer-based media has led to a renewed interest in the technology of teaching. An application used to teach functional assessment is the Simulation in Developmental Disabilities (SIDD) program. Using SIDD, students are placed in the role of a behavior analyst, are presented with a client who engages in a problem behavior, and must use functional assessment to identify the functional hypothesis and design effective treatments. Feedback on clinical decision-making including pre- and post-treatment video and graphed data is provided to the student. Previous correlational research suggested that sequencing the difficulty level of the cases may be important for developing the software to be maximally effective in teaching these concepts. In the current study, order of client case difficulty will be experimentally manipulated. Students in Applied Behavior Analysis courses will be exposed to either increasing versus decreasing order of difficulty. Students' performance during the simulation and during a test client case will be examined to determine the effect of order of difficulty of instructional material. The analyses are expected to reveal that the order of difficulty is an important consideration.



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