Setting the Environment for Successful Learning

Out and about teaching today the underpinning message was; don’t let things go wrong and have to fix them. For example; don’t wait until the horse dives for grass and then click when he brings his head back up.

It teaches a pattern of; i have to do ‘wrong’ behaviour to get person to cue ‘fixing’ behaviour which then triggers click and reinforcer. In other words; to get my person to click I have to get them to ask me to lift my head, for them to cue lift my head my nose first has to buried in grass.

Instead of waiting for things to go wrong before reinforcing a response to what we ask of the learner to fix things, we need to manage the environment to set the learner up for success; shorten the lead rope so that his head can’t get to grass.

Thats not the whole picture; we need to check if the horse has the underlying skills and knowledge about what is desired from them when they take the slack out of the lead rope. In other words; Did we put the step of teaching them about release to that pressure in place. If not then shortening the lead rope has the potential to lead to frustration and a battle.

All the pieces are required to ensure the antecedent environment is prepared in such a way as to set them up for success.

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