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Behaviorism and Developments in Instructional Design and Technology

Behaviorism and Developments in Instructional Design and Technology
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Author(s): Irene Chen (University of Houston Downtown, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 20
Source title: Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA), Gary A. Berg (California State University Channel Islands (Retired), USA), Judith V. Boettcher (Designing for Learning, USA), Caroline Howard (HC Consulting, USA), Lorraine Justice (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Karen D. Schenk (K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch023

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Abstract

The theory of behaviorism concentrates on the study of overt behaviors that can be observed and measured (Good & Brophy, 1990). In general, the behavior theorists view the mind as a “black box” in the sense that response to stimulus can be observed quantitatively, ignoring the possibility of thought processes occurring in the mind. Behaviorists believe that learning takes place as the result of a response that follows on a specific stimulus. By repeating the S-R (stimulus-response) cycle, the organism (may it be an animal or human) is conditioned into repeating the response whenever the same stimulus is present. The behavioral emphasis on breaking down complex tasks, such as learning to read, into subskills that are taught separately, has a powerful influence on instructional design. Behaviors can be modified, and learning is measured by observable change in behavior. The behavior theorists emphasize the need of objectivity, which leads to great accentuation of statistical and mathematical analysis.

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