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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #198
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Advances in Applying Behavior-Analytic Instructional Strategies in Higher Education Settings
Sunday, May 27, 2018
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Harbor Ballroom G
Area: EDC/TBA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Megan R. Heinicke (California State University, Sacramento)
Discussant: Jennifer L. Austin (University of South Wales)
CE Instructor: Jennifer L. Austin, Ph.D.

Higher education is an excellent setting for the application of behavioral technologies. This symposium will include four data-based presentations on behavior-analytic procedures with college students. Two presentations will focus on improving student performance in college classrooms, and two presentations will focus on teaching interviewing and public speaking skills. In the first presentation, Cynthia Nava will present an evaluation of concept programming using student-generated exemplars in a behavior analysis course. Next, Dr. Megan Heinicke will present a comparison of two types of response card systems in an upper-division psychology course. In the third presentation, Vinthia Wirantana will present an evaluation of behavioral skills training to train career resource center staff to use behavioral skills training to teach job interview skills. In the final presentation, Christina Montes will present an evaluation of awareness training to decrease speech disfluencies during public speaking. The symposium will conclude with a discussion by Dr. Jennifer Austin.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): career preparation, college students, higher education, teaching
Target Audience:

Researchers, teachers, and resource providers

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the symposium, attendees will be able to: (1) describe how concept programming is used to teach advanced behavior analytic topics, (2) identify effective and preferred methods of active responding in a college classroom, (3) apply a behavior skills training approach to train others on the application of behavior skills training, and (4) identify the effective components of habit reversal.

Evaluating the Effect of Peer-Generated, Multi-Media Examples of the Behavioral Principles in an Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis Undergraduate Course

Tara A. Fahmie (California State University, Northridge), CYNTHIA NAVA (California State University, Northridge), Sandy Jin (California State University, Northridge), Priya Kumar (California State University, Northridge)

Many of today's leading scholars and practitioners of behavior analysis were once undergraduate students learning the foundational concepts for the first time in a college classroom. Few studies exist on instructional strategies to improve the acquisition of behavioral concepts (e.g., positive reinforcement) in college students. Those that do exist (e.g., Miller & Weaver, 1976) were conducted before web-based technologies became a staple of college life. Our study extends existing research by systematically evaluating the effects of "concept programming" using multi-media examples of the behavioral principles generated by graduate students. First, we assigned graduate students to create examples (pictures/videos, captions, and descriptions) of the behavioral principles in their everyday lives. Next, we curated an online bank of these multi-media examples corresponding to four topics (respondent conditioning, reinforcement, antecedent control, extinction and punishment) taught in an undergraduate behavior analysis course. We used a multiple probe and between-group design to evaluate the effects of access alone and access with probes for critical thinking on concept formation. We also assessed student preference for multi-media, peer-generated examples compared to traditional textbook examples. Results of the study will be discussed in the context of instructional design, student preference, and culturally responsive practices in higher education.

A Comparison of Preprinted and Write-On Response Cards in a College Classroom
MEGAN R. HEINICKE (California State University, Sacramento), Sharon Furtak (California State University, Sacramento)
Abstract: This study compared the benefits of preprinted vs. write-on response cards in an upper-division psychology course using an alternating treatments design blocked by exam schedule. We compared the effects of each response card type with a standard lecture control condition on students’ exam performance on both multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank items, learning gains (i.e., number of questions answered incorrectly in class then correctly on exams), retention gains (i.e., number of learning gains maintained on a post-test), retention scores, in-class participation, and attendance. We also measured students’ self-report of preference for response cards using a satisfaction survey. We found significantly higher learning gains and retention scores for write-on over preprinted response cards. Students’ satisfaction scores were also significantly higher for the write-on response cards over the preprinted. However, we did not find significant differences in attendance or in-class participation. Overall, our results support that write-on response cards may be a preferred strategy to improve students’ exam performance. Recommendations for assessment in higher education and future research are discussed.

Using Behavioral Skills Trainingto Train Career Resource Center Staff to Use BST to Teach Job Interview Skills to College Students

COREY S. STOCCO (University of the Pacific), Vinthia Wiryananda Wirantana (University of the Pacific), Carolynn S. Kohn (University of the Pacific)

Behavioral skills training (BST) has been shown to improve job interview skills of college students (Hollandsworth, Glazeski, & Dressel, 1978; Stocco, Thompson, Hart, & Soriano, 2017). Students can receive interview training through college Career Resource Centers (CRCs), but it is unclear if CRCs use BST. Subsequently, if BST is not used, it is unknown whether BST produces better outcomes than a typical CRC training or whether professionals in those settings would embrace the use of BST. To address these gaps in the literature, we taught CRC staff to use BST when teaching college students to answer interview questions; we measured the number of BST steps used in comparison to a baseline that consisted of typical CRC training. In addition, we measured the percent of appropriate answers provided by college students during simulated interviews conducted after typical CRC training and BST. We used a nonconcurrent multiple baseline across three staff-student dyads to evaluate the effects. Results thus far show that CRC staff use some, but not all, BST steps during typical training. So far, after receiving training on BST, staff increased the use of BST steps, and we have observed collateral improvement in student performance during simulated interviews. However, data collection is only complete for one of the three dyads. Following the completion of all dyads, we will collect staff and student data on the social validity of procedures and outcomes.


Using Awareness Training to Reduce College Students' Speech Disfluencies in Public Speaking: A Replication and Extension

CRISTINA MONTES (California State University, Sacramento), Megan R. Heinicke (California State University, Sacramento), Danielle Geierman (California State University, Sacramento)

Past behavior-analytic research has focused on reducing speech disfluencies, such as "um" or "like," via punishment procedures. More recently, Mancuso and Miltenberger (2016) found habit reversal was effective in decreasing speech disfluencies. However, habit reversal can be a lengthy intervention package and the specific components responsible for behavior change are often unknown. Spieler and Miltenberger (2017) also evaluated awareness training, one component of habit reversal, as a stand-alone treatment and found the procedure was only effective with additional booster sessions. We systematically replicated these prior investigations by evaluating awareness training as a sole intervention with more stringent mastery criterion with four college students. We also measured collateral effects of treatment on participants'use of additional, untargeted filler word topographies and rate of speech. We found awareness training was effective for all participants without the use of booster sessions, and covariation between targeted filler words and secondary dependent variables was idiosyncratic across participants.




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