Negative Reinforcement University (NRU) is an interactive environment for learning about the concept of negative reinforcement and distinguishing this concept from other types of operant conditioning. NRU features a game-like 3D program that includes an experiential simulation, a lab to explore examples, and a testing room.
Negative Reinforcement University is intended to aid students in mastering negative reinforcement, which is one of the more difficult concepts to teach and learn in psychology.
Target Student Population:
The target population is undergraduate college students, although high school students could also benefit from it as well.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Some familiarity with principles of learning theory and operant conditioning would be helpful.
Type of Material:
This material is a tutorial with test items. It contains text, animation, and graphics.
The major use of this material is to teach students the concept of negative reinforcement and to distinguish it from related operant conditioning concepts. It would be useful for undergraduate introductory psychology, learning theories, and undergraduate and graduate personality theories courses.
Evaluation and Observation
This is a fun, interesting, and clever learning object. It is well-written and well-designed and appears to be an excellent way to learn about negative reinforcement. The game format and "university" theme are effective and the audio and visual effects are solid and help maintain interest. The help and supplemental resources are also well-written. The test provides immediate explanatory feedback with each item.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
As an aid in teaching the challenging concept of negative reinforcement, this site is exceptional. It engages the viewer and challenges him/her to master the topic.
It takes the user a while to figure out where to go and how to work things.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The design of this learning object makes engagement and persistence among students likely. The site is relatively intuitive; and with a bit of practice it can be navigated quite easily. The content follows a logical progression from its introduction to experiential simulation, to laboratory exercise and testing, and on to Negative Reinforcement University diploma receipt.
There is a lot going on. Students (and faculty) may spend some time "wandering the halls" before they catch on to the way things work. There are lots of instructions to learn and rules to follow.