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.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #290
Observational Learning: Acquisition and Utility
Monday, May 29, 2006
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Grant Gautreaux (Columbia University Teachers College)
Abstract: People depend on observational learning for a variety of things in their lives. Individuals watch others when they are not certain of how they should act or react to a multitude of scenarios. These environmental conditions may be social, cultural or academic. For humans success in employment, schooling and with relationships may hinge on observation. What people observe in addition to behaviors of others are the contingencies that are part of their interaction with the outside world. They are subsequently affected by how those interlocking events provide consequences for others. Recent evidence suggests distinctions between the effects of observation on the emission of previously acquired repertoires, the acquisition of new repertoires and the acquisition of observational learning as a new repertoire. Prior research failed to identify whether the changes in behavior from observation constituted learning because in many cases tests were not done for the presence or absence of the repertoires prior to observation. We describe new investigations reporting procedures leading to the acquisition of observational learning, and the acquisition of operants and higher order operants by observation.
The Effects of Peer Monitoring and Peer Yoked Contingencies on the Acquisition of Observational Learning.
JOANN PEREIRA DELGADO (Columbia University Teachers College), Lauren M. Stolfi (Columbia University Teachers College), Grant Gautreaux (Columbia University Teachers College)
Abstract: We conducted a series of separate experiments in which we tested the effects of peer monitoring, peer tutoring and peer yoked contingencies on the develop and expansion of observational learning repertoires for students with differing levels of verbal behavior. Across multiple pre-experimental probe arrangements, the selected participants failed to show evidence of possessing an observational learning repertoire. For middle school students peer monitoring training was implemented as a tactic. And for elementary students both a monitoring component and a peer-yoked contingency were established in peer tutoring sessions. The results of these interventions showed that for each of the participants an expansion of observational learning repertoires was noted. A summary of these results and related collateral effects are discussed as well as their implication to pedagogical design.
Observational Learning Capabilities in Middle School Students: Induction and Expansion via the Observational System of Instruction.
DENISE O'SULLIVAN (Columbia University Teachers College & CABAS), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School), Dr. Shira A. Ackerman (Columbia University Teachers College), Brooke DeMarco (Columbia University), Petra Wiehe (Columbia University), Grant Gautreaux (Columbia University Teachers College)
Abstract: We studied the effects of implementation of the Observational System of Instruction (OSI) on middle-school students with a history of disenfranchisement. The OSI consists of arranging yoked contingencies with paired students and requiring those students to self-monitor and peer-monitor responses emitted during instruction. A game board was designed to have the yoked pair compete against the teacher in scripted lessons. A separate schedule of reinforcement was in place to teach self and peer monitoring. Students who were targeted for observational learn units were identified due to their previous history of difficulties with acquisition via observational learning in academic settings. During designated instructional periods the targeted students were delivered direct learn units and also given opportunities to respond to observational learn units during the game arrangement. Pre and Post instructional probes were administered to measure the acquisition of academic content attributed to observation. Continuous data were also collected on conversational units and other verbal operants. Results are discussed in terms of the acquisition of targeted academic content by the participants and the collateral behaviors leading to the expansion of verbal operants. We also discussed these findings in terms of their impact on designing pedagogy for inducing and expanding observational repertoires.
Relations between Naming and Observational Learning.
TRACY REILLY-LAWSON (Columbia University Teachers College), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School), Darcy M. Walsh (Columbia University Teachers College), Tamar Frankel (Columbia University Teachers College), Grant Gautreaux (Columbia University Teachers College), Mindy Bunya Rothstein (Columbia University Teachers College)
Abstract: In this experiment we tested the effects of inducing observational learning through either yoked contingencies or monitoring training on elementary and middle school students who also lacked consistency in naming. The student were selected for this study due to pre-experimental probe data that indicated their listener skills failed to occasion a correspondence with their behavior as speakers. In a counterbalanced multiple probe design students were taught to monitor targeted behaviors and were exposed to a series of peer-yoked contingency arrangements. Probes for naming and observational learning were conducted upon completion meeting for each monitoring training objective and each peer-yoked contingency objective. In addition data were collected on other potential verbal operants. Results are discussed in terms of whether naming should exist as a prerequisite to observational learning or if naming and observational learning can be induced simultaneously. The results also establish support for identifying verbal development milestones and expanding the progression in the verbal development of children.
The Observational System of Learning (OSI) for Early Readers and Writers: A Bridge to PSI.
GRANT GAUTREAUX (Columbia University Teachers College), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School), Denise O'Sullivan (Columbia University Teachers College & CABAS), Dr. Shira A. Ackerman (Columbia University Teachers College)
Abstract: We tested the effected on The Observational System of Instruction (OSI) for elementary students and early/emergent reader/writers on the pre-requisite skills needed for the implementation of a Personalized System of Instruction. The OSI requires students to develop repertoires that require self-monitoring and peer-monitoring, naming and result in the expansion of collateral verbal repertoires such as expanding the tact repertoire. Therefore, students selected for this study did not possess substantial evidence of accurate monitoring skills nor did they appear to acquire information in group settings. A series of multiple probes were conducted in related to observational learning in conjunction with the target students reaching criterion levels of responding for monitoring objectives. The results are discussed in terms of relating the components taught within the Observational System of Instruction, and those composite skills necessary for successful implementation of a Personalized System of Instruction.



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