You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or sign in to view the full course.

Learning Theories

5. Schedules of Reinforcement

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or sign in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we think about how the rate at which reinforcement occurs can influence learning. We differentiate between ‘ratio schedules of reinforcement’, which require a certain number of responses to be performed before reinforcement is provided, and ‘interval schedules of reinforcement’, which require the passing of a certain interval of time before a behaviour is reinforced. We then look at how these schedules of reinforcement can be further sub-divided into ‘fixed’ and ‘variable’ schedules and discuss specific examples.


In this course, Mr Martyn Quigley (University of Nottingham) discusses some classic psychological theories of learning. We begin, in module one, by thinking about the research of Ivan Pavlov and his theory of classical conditioning as a form of associative learning. The second module takes a closer look at factors affecting classical conditioning, focussing in particular on the processes of extinction and generalisation. In module three, we move on to discuss operant or instrumental conditioning and the research of Edward Thorndike. In module four, we think about the mechanisms of reinforcement and punishment in operant conditioning, while module five takes a closer look at how the rate at which reinforcement occurs can influence learning. Module six concludes the course with a discussion of Social Learning Theory as an alternative to the behaviourist approach to learning.


Martyn Quigley is a Teaching Associate in the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham. His research interests include the mechanisms which underpin learning in a whole manner of circumstances, and how these can be linked to applied settings (e.g. educational and medical settings). He is also interested in the philosophy of science and how this relates to psychology and the replication crisis.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Quigley, M. (2019, September 27). Learning Theories - Schedules of Reinforcement [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Quigley, Martyn. "Learning Theories – Schedules of Reinforcement." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Sep 2019,

Image Credits

Get instant access to over 4,000 lectures