Reinforcment schedules are very important to learning via the operant conditioning route. if someone tries to teach an organism and isnt following a set schedule of reinforcement, it can resul in pain, hunger, nothing at all, and most importantly, learning will not occur without reinforcment. Without reinforcement, a learned behavior will become extinct in the organism's mind. Imagine trying to train a dog with a variable time reinforcement schedule. Giving him treats every five minutes isn't going to help him learn what you want him to do when you say, "sit!". It will confuse him as to what is being reinforced, but he isn't going to do anything to change that since he's a happy eating dog. If the trainer followed a fixed ratio schedule, the dog will only be reinforced when the command is completed, hence improving learning.
In this class, i learned that the majority of our learning is through classical and operant conditioning, and subcategories of them. Even something that would be considered ovservational learning can turn into operant learning. For example, a child observes a behavior, and sees the behavior resulting in reward. The observing child is then going to want the reward pathway of reinforcement, and will imitate this action. Classical conditioning is also a useful learning too , but one that acts more on instinct. For example, getting a stomach illness from an undercooked food would produce the sickness feeling whenever the food is seen, in order to remind the body it is a bad food and potentially dangerous.
My favorite part of this class was its abilitly to connect to life on an everyday basis. It explains how people could've learned their behaviors from many different sources and possibly explains why they do this. Another thing i enjoyed from this coutrse was the overall tone and flow of the slide shows. Most other slide shows have a tendancy to become boring and sluggish. These slides kept me interested and constantly connecting the theories learned to actions that happen in my everyday life. Also, the videos selected to illustrate these topics were sometimes comedic but always entertaining and informative.