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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W33
Using Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab (PORTL) in the Classroom and in the Clinic to Teach Behavior Principles and Shaping Skills
Friday, May 24, 2024
8:00 AM–3:00 PM
Marriott Downtown, Level 4, Franklin Hall 6
Area: AUT/TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Jesus Rosales-Ruiz, Ph.D.
JESUS ROSALES-RUIZ (University of North Texas), MARY ELIZABETH HUNTER (Behavior Explorer), HANNAH DAVIS MCGEE (University of North Texas), CRYSTAL FERNANDEZ (University of North Texas)
Description: PORTL, the Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab, offers a convenient and fun way to experience the principles of behavior and learn shaping skills (Hunter & Rosales-Ruiz, 2023; Rosales-Ruiz & Hunter, 2019). This tabletop game is essentially a portable Skinner box for humans. However, unlike the Skinner box, students get to experience what it is like to be both the teacher and the learner. Through PORTL exercises, students can learn about reinforcement, extinction, discrimination, stimulus control, shaping, chaining, and other behavioral phenomena. PORTL teaches students how to design reinforcement systems, write teaching plans, collect data, and assess the learner’s progress during teaching. In this workshop, you will learn the fundamentals of PORTL, the parallels between PORTL and the Skinner box, and the basics of using PORTL as a teaching tool in the classroom or for staff training. You will also get to play several PORTL exercises as both the teacher and learner, which will further illustrate the power of PORTL as a teaching tool.
Learning Objectives: (1) Describe the basic components of the game PORTL and the relationship between PORTL and the Skinner box. (2) Describe how to use PORTL to teach basic behavioral principles to students or practitioners. (3) Set up a game of PORTL and carry out a PORTL exercise to illustrate a behavioral principle or teach a behavior.
Activities: This workshop will consist of lectures and hands-on activities. Lectures and videos will be used to describe the basics of PORTL and teach participants how to use PORTL to teach others about basic behavioral principles. Participants will have a chance to experience PORTL through a series of hands-on exercises. During the exercises, participants will play the roles of both teacher and student. Group discussions will be used to summarize and refect on the experience gained by playing the exercises and to further discuss how to use PORTL as a teaching tool.
Audience: This workshop is designed for anyone who is interested in teaching others about basic behavioral principles and who is interested in teaching others about how to design and implement teaching programs. University professors will find the material useful for their undergraduate and graduate behavior classes. BCBAs and licensed psychologists will find the material useful for training practitioners and therapists.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): basic principles, laboratory experience, shaping skills, staff training



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