Behaviorism, Learning Theories and Technology


Behaviorism is tailored into two mechanisms, reinforcement and punishment. Many people see behaviorism as a place to blame student’s bad behavior in class. Whereas they should be focusing on using reinforcement and punishment to build their classroom environment and lesson structure to be engaging and inviting. Dr. Michael Orey explains how reinforcement is the strongest of the two mechanisms a teacher can use to steer a student’s behaviors (2015a). Students want to be commended and celebrated more than they want to be disciplined. Thus, reinforcement is a stronger tool for the teacher. As a teacher, you can use this to your advantage and build reinforcements, encouragement, constructive feedback into your lesson and instruction. Technology can also be used to create this type of environment. Dr. Orey also discussed how the use of tutorials is a wide spread and popular technique to assist teachers in creating an engaging lesson. The tutorial will show you the right and wrong way to perform a task and assist you in learning the desired content.

Students will feel more at ease when they are allowed the time to work with tools they know. Many students come prepared to use technology. When they have the chance to apply their interests to their work then their learning will flourish. When a teacher takes the time to use the multiple intelligences as a teaching strategy then technology can be easily added. When students are allowed the choice to demonstrate their knowledge by using their lead intelligence and technology their engagement will increase. This also allows room for the student to take ownership of their project. The students lead intelligence is whichever intelligence they scored the highest. For example, a student who scored highest on the visual intelligence could create a digital presentation to show her understanding. A musical learner could in turn write and sing a song based on what they have learned.  Rapp & Arndt explain how giving the student a choice will increase “engagement” and allow them to feel “empowered” (2012). Students can “set the pace” and present information in numerous setups. Michael Macbeth stated to intertwine the multiple intelligences and technology successfully then , “the teachers instruction must then focus on student achievement so that the technology integration is effective” (Macbeth).

Within my own class I try to implement technology that will advance my students skills and assist them in using their multiple intelligences as well. In the past I have not only allowed my students to use their lead intelligence to help them display their understand of the content but also their weakest intelligence. My students have gotten to a point where they would like to branch out and work on other intelligences. A visual learner will not always want to make a presentation, maybe they would like to create a song instead. ISTE standards state that a student should become an “empowered learner”. This means that the student will, “take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals” (2017). This strategy allows the learner to take their project into their own hands either by using their lead intelligence or their weakest.

While researching behaviorism I found several resources to apply within my class. I believe I am going to focus on the Genius Hour (GH) approach with in my art club once a month.  One resource discusses behaviorism and constructivism when applied to face-to-face and online learning . This was a very informative piece on the history and growth the two learning theories have shown over time. Dr. Mary Weegar and Dr. Dina Pacis discussed the same points on how B.F. Skinner had a made a rudimentary Teaching Machine (2012). This teaching machine was basically a tutorial with multiple choice. Students could answer a question and if they got it right them moved on, they were wrong they were told the correct answer and why. This system went on step by step, one piece of information at a time, just like a tutorial. I feel I could use this approach during GH to show the students basic skills and techniques on new problem-solving solutions and complex situations.






Laureate Education (Producer). (2015a). Behaviorist learning theory [Video file]. Baltimore,

MD: Author.

(2017). ISTE Standards for students. Retrieved June 04, 2017, from


Weegar,M., DR., &Pacis, D., Dr. (2012). A Comparison of Two Theories of Learning-

Behaviorism and Constructivism as applied to Face to Face and Online Learning. E-

Leader Manila. Retrieved June 4, 2017, from

Macbeth, M. (n.d.). Multiple intelligences and educational technology-Theoretical Foundations

of Educational Technology. Retrieved June 04, 2017, from

Rapp, W. H., & Arndt, K. L. (2012). Teaching everyone: an introduction to inclusive education.

Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Pub. Co.

5 tips for getting all your students engaged in learning. (2012, February). Retrieved June 04, 2017, from

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