The idea of “drill and kill” has been a hot-button issue for many years. Can the innovation of educational technology programs bring this idea back to the classroom? Does the Behaviorist Learning Theory have a place in classrooms today?
The Behaviorist Learning Theory states that positive behavior should be reinforced and undesirable behavior should be punished (Orey, 2011).
How does that theory relate to drilling students on facts, you might ask? There are many websites and computer programs that drill the students on their facts and instantly reward them with a positive saying, a silly song or a fun animation. When they get a wrong answer, they either hear a loud, harsh sound, see a negative phrase or mainly lose points. This can be seen as very negative. I can speak for my students when I say, the majority love playing these kinds of games. They love trying to beat their previous score. They do not really see it as a negative reinforcement.
Not all sights are aesthetically pleasing and do not grab the attention of the students. Those that do, effectively aide in student learning.
Here are some great sights that utilize the video gaming age to create fun, interactive games while drilling the students on their basic facts.
Online Basic Skill Games-This site is a hub for many skill games!
The idea of drilling facts into the brains of our students can seem pointless, but when you think about it, those skills are the basis of most story problems, reading comprehension questions and many other various skills students will use.
Activity is important. Learning is better when the learner is active rather than passive. (‘Learning by doing’ is to be applauded) (Smith, 1999).
Technology has given what was once a boring “drill and kill” method and made learning facts active and engaging.
Smith, K. (1999). The behaviourist orientation to learning. In The encyclopedia of informal education. Retrieved from http://www.infed.org/biblio/learning-behavourist.htm
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program four: Behaviorist learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1