Operant applications or otherwise the applications of operant conditioning is referred to as the reinforcement of stimulus similar to a reward or learning and teaching behaviors to others through a reinforcement. The resulting conditions of applying operant learning is that the learner is likely to obtain the same behavior taught by the reinforcing stimulus, which will reflect as behavioral changes on the part of the learner (Grusec, 1992).
Braaksma et al. (2004) discussed observational learning as an example of operant application wherein learners orchestrate their writing processes as a result of the perceived differences in instructional methods (i.e. learning by performing v. observing using a model). To compare the writing quality of learners, it was found that the result of observational learning is a process pattern that encompasses metacognitive activities such as analysis, planning, and orientation (Braaksma et al., 2004).
Furthermore, the article demonstrates that learners can produce better writing output through observational learning as compared to traditional learning by performing learners whose orchestration of writing is weaker.
The article by Braaksma et al. (2004) relates to observational learning because it demonstrates the differences orchestration of writing pattern between learners who were given writing models as compared to learners that are relying on instructions alone. In addition, the tenets of observational learning encompass learning method by example, which the article was also able to address by examining the difference in orchestration of writing among learners.
There are several factors that affect observational learning as mentioned in the article by Braaksma et al. (2004). The first factor is learning models, this factor provides the learning an insight to the writing process that can be imitated or be used as a reference for writing perspective. Learning by observing a model provide learners with a definitive guide that they can use to effectively translate ideas into a new knowledge by applying the concept offered by the model (Chance, 2014).
The second factor that affects observational learning is the difference in learning pattern with the rest of other learning method. For instance, learners would be able to focus more on their actual writing task by devoting their cognitive effort instead of learning to write (Braaksma et al., 2004). The third factor is the learner’s simulation of the demonstrated model to create inputs for their task through the use of metacognition. It is defined as learning through observing, evaluating, and reflecting on the model. The social learning principles defines the use of model in behavioral and cognitive learning as stimulus and the pattern of writing orchestration created by the learners is regarded as the stimulus response (Grusec, 1992).
In conclusion, operant application is a variation of learning approach that learners and instructors take to convey knowledge or behavior. As an example observational learning enables learner to write effectively by analyzing and evaluating a model. Through observation of the model, learners are given a point of reference to practice metacognition and acquire learning by drawing concepts from the model.
Braaksma, M. A., Rijlaarsdam, G., Bergh, H. V., & M, H. V. (2004). Observational learning and its effects on the orchestration of writing processes. Cognition and Instruction, 22(1), 1-36. doi:10.1207/s1532690Xci2201_1
Chance, P. (2014). Chapter 9: Operant Applciations. In Learning and behavior (7th ed., pp. 254-278). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Grusec, J. E. (1992). Social learning theory and developmental psychology: The legacies of Robert Sears and Albert Bandura. Developmental Psychology, 28(5), 776-786. doi:10.1037//0012-16126.96.36.1996