LLA for Veterinary and Animal Professionals - Overview

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Living & Learning with Animals: The Fundamental Principles and Procedures of Teaching and Learning

Purpose and Objectives

LLA Professional is an 8-week tele class designed to provide the foundation for a comprehensive and coherent understanding of behavior analysis as it relates to facilitating the lives of all learners. The principles and procedures discussed throughout the class are trans-species. To meet this goal, the following objectives will be explored:

1. An evolutionary understanding of learning and behavior.

2. The philosophy of behaviorism.

3. A systematic model for building behavior-change interventions.

4. The ABC approach to assessing the functional relationships between behavior and environmental conditions.

5. The teaching technology of applied behavior analysis applied to non-human animals and their contexts.

6. An ethical guideline for selecting training procedures based on the least intrusive principle and a procedural hierarchy.

With this information, animal professionals will be able to better guide clients to proactively teach their animals successful behaviors living in human care, 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. Three-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. Students will be responsible for phone fees (e.g., Skype credits, cell or land line) as our conference call service (Free Conference Call) only gives us the conference connection free and not the phone use. There is a new Free Conference Call WIFI Application that can be used as well. 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.

Course Description

Eight-week on-line course "Living and Learning with Animals." 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 for all behavior-change applications, including training, behavior assessment and problem behavior resolution, with a high standard for effective and humane interventions.

© 2023 Susan G. Friedman, Ph.D.