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Module 9: Complementary, Not Competing


Module Overview

With Modules 1-8 complete, and before we move into complementary cognitive processes and the limits of learning, we will see how the various learning models are complementary, and not competing, theories of learning. For almost any behavior, all three are involved in some way, whether in acquisition, maintenance, or the extinguishing/limiting of the behavior.


Module Outline

  • 9.1. Complementary, Not Competing Exercise


Module Learning Outcomes

  • Apply and practice what you have learned about the three learning models.

9.1. Complementary, Not Competing Exercise


Complete the exercise which brings together the three learning models of respondent conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning. Use all that you have learned so far in this course. This exercise will round out the first part of the course. In the second, we look at complementary cognitive processes to learning.



Complementary, Not Competing Exercise

(Exercise 4 at Washington State University)

Directions: For this exercise you will demonstrate your understanding of respondent conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning by showing how, regarding a specific learned behavior, they are complementary and not competing. How might the various models explain acquisition of the behavior, maintenance of it over time, and how might you reduce or extinguish the behavior? Be advised that you do not have to address all three models for each of these phases. Only address the one(s) you feel are appropriate but be creative. Everything you have learned is fair game. Go through Modules 4, 6, and 8 for information on how these learning models work, and then Modules 5 and 7 for applications that may be relevant. You will then write a paper on how you see the models working together.

Make sure you address ACQUISITION, MAINTENANCE, and REDUCING/ EXTINGUISHING the behavior. These should be your section headings.

Behaviors you may discuss for this assignment:

  • Drug/Alcohol/Nicotine Addiction – pick one of the three
  • Phobias – You can talk about them in general or pick one
  • Hate/Racism/Prejudice/Discrimination – This is a package of sorts
  • Tantrums/disruptive behavior in children
  • Other Behavior – If you have another behavior you would like to explore, you MUST email your instructor for prior approval. This way if it will not work for some reason, the instructor can let you know. If you do not get prior approval and your behavior does not work, you could receive a 0 for the assignment. Just get approval first.


This is meant to be a fun assignment. Creativity is required so please take your time with it.


Expected Learning Outcomes: This assignment will test how well you know and comprehend the concepts learned so far, can apply them to a specific behavior, can analyze another student’s response and provide meaningful feedback, can evaluate their critique of your work and defend or adapt your response accordingly, and finally how you can synthesize those comments to form a rewritten response.

Format: This will be a paper of approximately 2-3 pages. It should be written in MS Word but if you do not have the program, write it up in your word processing program and convert it to PDF format to submit to your instructor. Use APA format, 7th edition.


Assignment Sequenced Steps:

  1. Complete this exercise by Wednesday. You will NOT submit it to your instructor yet.
  2. Next, post your answer as a reply to the Discussion Question (DQ) prompt in the Discussions area of our course so that others can see how you approached it. The DQ reply is due on Wednesday. Posting your answer to the exercise (Exercise 4 in the WSU version of this class) is worth 5 points. You receive the points for simply posting but if you submit after Wednesday, you will receive NO points. Your instructor will NOT be grading the exercise at this point.
  3. Critique ONE other student’s post for your participation requirement. The critique is worth 15 points and is due on Thursday. You are expected to analyze all aspects of their response from acquisition, to maintenance, to reducing/extinguishing the behavior. Please look for a post from one of your classmates which has NOT received feedback from any other student. Post your critique as a reply to the student in the Discussions area.
    • Note that if more than one individual replies to a student’s initial attempt at this exercise, only the student who posted first will receive credit. The others will have to find someone else without feedback.
  4. Reply to your peer partner in the Discussions area acknowledging what you have learned from their critique of your response by Friday. Seriously consider what they have suggested or potentially see wrong in your response. Though they may have good ideas, they could be incorrect. If that is true, reply and let them know where you think they went wrong in interpretation of the content in the course. In gray areas, your instructor can clarify misconceptions. Your reply to the peer partner is worth 5 points.
  5. After you have done this, update your answer to the exercise to reflect what you learned from your peer partner in the discussion. Any revisions you make due to peer partner feedback should be identified as such. You could simply say, Peer Partner Feedback Revision: XXX (Start the text). Do call out the feedback in case it is wrong, and you were initially correct. If you note the feedback but that it might be flawed, that would demonstrate your understanding of the topics in this course and contribute positively to your grade on the exercise. If their feedback was correct and you show what you initially thought was wrong, this too can lead to a higher grade.
  6. Then submit your FINAL exercise response to me by Sunday in the appropriate Assignment drop box (not in the Discussions area). Your final version of this exercise is worth 50 points and IS graded by the Instructor. Be sure to proofread it first.

Check the Course Schedule for Exact Dates

Please Note: It is imperative for this one week in the course that you are active in the class for the duration of the week. Well, at least from Wednesday to Friday. 

Grading Summary

Do This By This Day Earn This Many Points
Post your initial attempt at the exercise in Discussions Wednesday 5
Critique another student’s response in Discussions Thursday 15
Reply to the critique of your initial attempt at the exercise in Discussions Friday 5
Submit your final version of the exercise (including peer partner comments) in Assignments for the instructor to grade Sunday 50


FINAL Exercise Version Rubric (Submitted to the Instructor)

Criterion Points Possible Points Earned
Was ACQUISTION adequately and correctly addressed? 15  
Was MAINTENANCE adequately and correctly addressed? 15  
Was how the behavior will be REDUCED or ELIMINATED adequately and correctly addressed? 15  
Was the paper in correct APA format (7th edition)? 5  
Was the paper submitted late? Deduct 10% or 5 points up to one week late. After this the assignment is given a 0 unless there is an arrangement with the Instructor to submit late (or accommodation).    



Note that the Discussion portion of this assignment is worth 25 points as with all other weeks in the class. The breakdown is different but still adds to 25, and you are only replying to ONE other student. The DQ submission is worth 5 points, the critique 15 points, and the reply 5 points for a total of 25 points.

2nd edition, but updated 7-6-22 to reflect instructor and student feedback from Summer 2022


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Module 9: Complementary, Not Competing by Washington State University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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