Purpose and Objectives
LLA Professional is designed to provide the foundation for a comprehensive and coherent understanding of behavior analysis as it relates to facilitating the lives of captive and companion animals. The principles and procedures discussed throughout the class apply to all species. To meet this goal, the following objectives will be explored:
1) The fundamental principles of learning and behavior.
2) A model for assessing the functional relationships between behavior and environmental conditions.
3) The teaching technology of applied behavior analysis and its ethical guidelines for implementation.
4) A systematic model for building behavior-change interventions.
With this information, animal professionals will be able to better guide clients to proactively teach their animals successful captive and companion behaviors and effectively analyze and resolve behavior problems that inevitably arise.
Philosophy and Scientific Underpinnings
The philosophy of behavior underlying this course is that captive and companion animals, like all learners, must have power to operate effectively on their environment, in order to live behaviorally healthy lives. Behavior-change programs are most ethically conducted according to a hierarchy of interventions arranged according to social acceptability and learner control, starting with the most positive, least intrusive methods. Effectiveness is a necessary, but not sufficient, criterion for procedural choices. Students will quickly learn that once they have the necessary tools, a commitment to facilitate rather than force behavior does not mean a loss of behavioral standards.
The natural science perspective of behavior analysis is presented here. This means that our challenge is to explain behavioral phenomena by identifying the physical events that produce them. Participants are encouraged to focus on observable behavior and the environmental conditions that support it, rather than make inferences or assumptions about hypothetical mental mechanisms. The lectures rely heavily on the findings of many decades of scientific study of behavior from the field of behavior analysis to replace personal recipes and folk wisdoms about behavior with sound, science-based information and an ethical behavior-change toolbox.
Associated with this course is an email list called LLA-Professional. The purpose of this list is to further your experience with the material during the course through guided homework experiences and a forum for additional discussions.
Distance Education via Telephone Conferencing and Computer Technology
Using telephone conferencing and computer technology, you are able to participate in LLA Professional at a convenient location such as your home or office. Two-hour lectures are presented weekly, for 8 weeks, over a shared phone-conferencing line while you view over 300 slides and dozens of video demonstrations through your Internet browser. Written lectures and a PDF version of the slides, to augment the telephone conference learning objectives, are sent to you via email and discussed on a private email list serve.
This mode of distance education is easy, affordable, effective and a lot of fun.
LLA Professional is designed to be a first course in behavior analysis for veterinarians, animal trainers, behavior consultants, and other animal professionals. The principles and procedures of behavior analysis are general in nature, that is, they apply to all species and situations. Thus, LLA Professional provides a robust, general foundation to accurately assess and resolve behavior problems, and more effectively support your behavior work with clients and patients.