LLA for Veterinary and Animal Professionals - Format and Learning Objectives

Course Format and Main Topics

LLA Professional is taught in two 4-week modules. Module 1 can be taken separately; however, successful completion of Module 1 is a prerequisite for participating in Module 2.

Module 1 main topics include science foundations, respondent and operant learning, functional assessment, and introduction to changing behavior.

Module 2 main topics include the technology of behavior change, developing behavior change plans and case studies.

Application Opportunities

During the course, each student is encouraged to participate in the following application opportunities:

1. Complete and revise weekly short-answer homework questions included in written lectures. Students will have the opportunity to dialogue 1:1 with an experienced LLA instructor via homework queries to move from their own baseline to a deeper understanding of the material.

2. Complete a 25 short-answer final exam designed to bring all the information imparted in LLA under one “roof."

3. Bring questions and comments for discussion to each teleconference via Messenger texts and unlimited discussion with Dr. Friedman on the phone line after each class.

Learning Objectives

Part 1
I. We’ve Come a Long Way Baby!
A. But Not Far Enough
B. Course Goal
II. The Significance of Science to Behavior
A. Levels of Analysis
i. Model Matters
1. Medical Model
2. Ethological Model
3. Behavioral Model
B. Obstacles to the Scientific Analysis of Behavior
i. Theological Influences
ii. Biological Determinism
iii. The Madness of Causes
iv. Over-reliance on Labels and Constructs
C. Working definitions
i. Behavior - Operationally Defined
ii. Stimulus
iii. Learning
iv. Teaching
v. Learning vs Conditioning
vi. Hypothesis vs Theory
vii. Behavior Analysis
III. Two Learning Paradigms
A. Respondent Learning: S-S-R
B. Operant Learning: S-R-S
IV. Understanding and Predicting Behavior
A. The Smallest Meaningful Unit of Analysis
B. Functional Assessment
C. Steps for ABC Assessment
V. The Commitment to Ethical Practice
A. Key Questions for Solving Behavior Problems
B. The Case for Empowerment
i. Control as a Reinforcer
ii. Contra-freeloading
iii. Learned Helplessness vs Resilience
C. Empowerment via Enrichment
VI. Changing Behavior: Respondent Strategies
A. Fear
i. Exposure Therapies
ii. Systematic Desensitization
iii. Counter-conditioning
iv. Flooding
VII. Changing Behavior: Operant Strategies
A. A Simple Model of Behavioral Support
B. Antecedents – Nature’s Signals
i. Setting Events
ii. Establishing/Motivating Operations
iii. Discriminative Stimuli
1. S-D
2. S-Delta
C. Consequences – Nature’s Feedback Loop
i. Dimensions of interest
1. Function and Operations
2. Four Quadrants
3. Keys to Picking the Principle
Part 2
VIII. Increasing Behavior
A. Positive and Negative Reinforcement
B. Considerations for Effective Reinforcement
i. Three Cs
ii. Schedule Effects
iii. Individual Difference
iv. Establishing New Reinforcers
C. Shaping
D. Targeting
E. Adding a Cue
F. Prompting and Fading Prompts
G. Chaining
H. Case Study – Ken & Nico
IX. Decreasing Behavior
A. It’s Definitional
B. Redirecting
C. P+ and R- Compared
D. Factors Affecting Punishment
E. Problems with Punishment
F. Alternatives to Positive Punishment
i. Differential Reinforcement of Alternative/Incompatible Behavior
ii. Extinction
iii. Time Out from Positive Reinforcement
X. Other Strategies & Training Tips (slide 81-85)
A. Observational Learning
B. Behavioral Momentum
C. Training Tips
XI. Developing Behavior Change Plans
A. Considerations for Effective Planning
B. Steps for Building Behavior Change Plans
C. Case Studies
D. SAM Learns to Step Up
XII. Course Wrap Up
A. Are Their Other Ways Animals Learn?
B. Yeah Buts and Other Distractions
C. Big Picture Summary
Photo Credit: Bonnie Jay -
© 2015 Susan G. Friedman, Ph.D.