Behaviorism and Technology


Behaviorist learning theory is concerned with physical behavior and the ways it can be modified by outside stimulus either positively or negatively, depending on stimulus. In and education setting the desired outcome is generally positive, as that is when the ability to learn is at its peak. There is a multitude of learning strategies available to assist learning, although now only two will be explored.

Success in anything does not come naturally. It comes through learning, practice and hours of effort. “To use the strategy of reinforcing effort effectively, teachers must understand the relationship between effort and achievement and the importance of consistently exposing students to information related to effort” (Pitler, Hubbell & Kuhn, 2012, pp. 57). The technology discussed for reinforcing effort gives the student a visual into exactly what effort encompasses. It also gives an understanding that he/she may not be in the same place as the next student academically, but putting forth the effort to improve. It sounds like the “NOT YET” mind set.

Classroom management is the key to a successful classroom. There must be a clear set of expectations and routines. Consistency is the most important part of classroom management. “Reinforcement is the cardinal motivator. Positive reinforcers like rewards and successes are preferable to negative events like punishments and failures” (Smith, 1999). Positive reinforcement alters behavior quickly. Stickers, badge and award generators, are great motivators to alter behavior.

Homework is important as long as it is relevant and grade level appropriate. The technologies described work well with behaviorism. They are active learning as many are game based such as BrainPop and BrainPopJr. and Battle Graph. There are repetitive, drill, flash card games. The number of websites and games online as well as multimedia, communication platforms, relevant engaging homework is easy to find.

Behaviorism is a theory which has a multitude of tools to engage the learner. From classroom management, to effort and recognition, to homework, technology can offer a number of alternatives.






Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction that

 works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD

Smith, M. K. (1999) ‘The behaviourist orientation to learning’, the encyclopedia of informal


One Comment

  1. Veronica Rhoads says:

    I agree with you that technology can be a tool to use to successfully reinforce learning so the student can put in his or her best effort into what ever is assigned. Have you thought of other ways that can help a student give their best effort? I look back to week one, when I researched the many ways that students learn through verbal or linguistic activities, logically through mathematics, visual spatial activities, lessons that include kinesthetic learning, and involving music within the activities and lessons. Granted technology can fulfill most of those learning methods, but does it always connect the learning to prior knowledge to allow the students to store the information in long-term memory (Laureate Education, n.d.)? These are just some questions I have about solely using technology to help students achieve effort.

    Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. B. (2008).Teaching and learning with technology(3rd ed., pp. 2–35). Boston, MA: Pearson Education
    Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Brain research and learning [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author