Curriculum Guideline

Applied Behaviour Analysis: Basic Principles

Effective Date:
Course Code
DACS 5121
Applied Behaviour Analysis: Basic Principles
Disability & Community Studies
Applied Community Studies
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
60 hours: Lecture
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction
  • Lecture
  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Group presentations
Course Description
This upper level course will introduce students to the science of applied behaviour analysis (ABA). The basic principles of operant conditioning including stimulus control, motivation, reinforcement, punishment, extinction, and schedules of reinforcement will be emphasized using examples of everyday behaviours. Students will also learn how these principles can be applied to persons with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Course Content
  • The Behavioural Strategy
    • introduction to behaviour analysis in applied settings
    • methods of applied observation
    • reliability and validity checks within applied observations
    • experimental designs for studying behaviours
    • visual analysis for interpreting behavioural experiments
  • The Reinforcement Strategy
    • positive reinforcement
    • negative reinforcement
    • extinction
    • differential reinforcement
    • factors that influence the effectiveness of reinforcers
    • ratio schedules of reinforcement
    • interval schedules of reinforcement
  • The Stimulus Control Strategy
    • stimulus discrimination
    • generalization training
    • prompting and prompt fading
  • The Aversive Control Strategy
    • punishment by contingent stimulation
    • punishment by contingent withdrawal
    • escape and avoidance
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Define basic behavioural concepts and terms
  2. Accurately collect and analyze data:
  3. Define, differentiate and provide everyday examples of the basic principles of reinforcement,
  4. Define, differentiate and provide basic behavioural procedures
Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. Typical means of evaluation would include a combination of:

  • Weekly quizzes
  • Mid term and final test
  • Fluency tests
  • Journal reviews
  • Presentation or critical research paper
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:

Miller, L. Keith. (2006). Principles of Everyday Behavior Analysis (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.


Course pack of assigned journal readings or TBA

Which Prerequisite

DACS 5112 and 5113 and DACS 5122 and DACS 5123