Principles of learning reinforcement
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Principles of learning - reinforcement . Jessica Royster – April 8, 2010. What is Reinforcement? . Saphier’s definition… “Anything that strengthens a behavior” Reinforcement can range from food and toys to statements of recognition. . Verbal Reinforcement.

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Principles of learning reinforcement

Principles of learning - reinforcement

Jessica Royster – April 8, 2010


What is reinforcement

What is Reinforcement?

  • Saphier’s definition…

    • “Anything that strengthens a behavior”

    • Reinforcement can range from food and toys to statements of recognition.


Verbal reinforcement

Verbal Reinforcement

  • Used often, but rarely correctly.

  • Verbal reinforcement should be:

    • Precise

    • Appropriate

    • Scheduled (from regular to intermittent)


Precise reinforcement

Precise Reinforcement

  • A specific statement should be made, stating exactly what the learner has done well today.

  • Example from Saphier:

    • “You didn’t rush today, and you got them almost all right”

    • Not just “Good work today.”

  • The student understands what they’ve done right.

  • They are more likely to repeat the good behavior because it has been explicitly reinforced.


Appropriate reinforcement

Appropriate Reinforcement

  • Very important.

  • If the reinforcement is not wanted, then it’s not reinforcement!

  • You don’t want to embarrass students.

  • Example from Saphier:

    • “Being told his handwriting is ‘nice’ may turn off a sixth-grade athlete and get him kidded by his pals; more appropriate feedback for him might be, ‘John, you’re one of our best ball players and I see your fine motor coordination is just as good as your coordination on the ball field’.”


Scheduling reinforcement

Scheduling Reinforcement

  • B.F Skinner and Operant Conditioning

    • Operant Conditioning is “the use of consequences to modify the occurrence and form of behavior”.

    • At the beginning, reinforcement should be given with every occurrence of the behavior, making the behavior become more stable.

    • After this, reinforcement should become random.

    • This ‘intermittent scheduling’ of reinforcement is good for modifying behavior such as hand raising or coming to class on time.


Intrinsic and extrinsic reinforcement

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Reinforcement

  • Intrinsic Reinforcement is something we do to ourselves, internally.

    • Saphier writes, “Intrinsic rewards are available to students only if they can perform sufficiently well in an area to get the reward, for example, if they can read well enough to get the pleasure of a good story.”

  • The positive effects of intrinsic reinforcement are almost universally agreed upon.


Extrinsic reinforcement

Extrinsic Reinforcement

  • Extrinsic reinforcement is reinforcement that comes from outside ones self.

  • Examples: Congratulations, smiles, applauding, shaking hands, certificates, ‘Right’.

  • Extrinsic rewards should be success contingent – not just merely participating in an activity, but succeeding in the activity.


Principles of learning reinforcement

  • Reinforcement is important!

    • Just remember to use reinforcement properly.

      • Precise

      • Appropriate

      • Scheduled

        Any Questions?


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