Operant conditioning is a type of learning process based on association of certain behavior with negative or positive result. The positive, or desired result, is called reinforcement, whereas the negative result is punishment. The stimulus can be either added or removed based on the aim of the training person to punish or to reinforce a certain behavior. Operant conditioning is an essential part of education or training processes, as well as it helps to raise children and make them acquire human patterns of behavior.
Schedule reinforcement is the part of operant conditioning, and it can be divided in several groups. First, this is positive reinforcement, that increases the frequency of a desired behavior. Second, this is negative reinforcement, which increases the frequency of behavior when removed. Thirds, it involves punishment, which is used to decrease the frequency of undesired behavior.
School grades can serve as one of the simplest examples of operation conditioning. In order to get a positive stimulus that would make a student feel good, smart, and successful, the student studies hard. In more early childhood, children receive punishment for undesired behavior. For example, they are prevented from missing the classes by gadget deprivation. Animals can be taught by operant conditioning, too. For example, Abramson and Dinges (2016) describe operant conditioning in honey bees. The animals were trained to acquire new behavior (pushing a cap) in order to get food, which served as a positive reinforcement. Buying something can be an example of continuous reinforcement. If a person puts money in a vending machine, they receive some snacks. Thus, operant condition is an inevitable part of our everyday life and especially a part of the educational process. It is also a natural part of teaching, that can be seen in the natural environment.
Abramson, C. I., Dinges, C. W., & Wells, H. (2016). Operant conditioning in honey bees (Apis mellifera L.): The cap pushing response. PloS One, 11(9), e0162347. Web.