|An Introduction to Relational Frame Theory was written and developed by Dr. Eric J. Fox (Doc Fox), the founder and director of FoxyLearning. Doc Fox was a contributing author to the first book-length treatment of Relational Frame Theory (RFT), founded and developed the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS) website (and the RFT and ACT websites that preceded it), was a founding member of the ACBS Board of Directors, and has presented and published on RFT numerous times. With a Ph.D. in Learning & Instructional Technology from Arizona State University and master's and bachelor's degrees in psychology from the University of Nevada, Doc Fox has served as a faculty member in the psychology department at Western Michigan University and as Dean of Instruction at Saybrook University. He currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with his lovely wife Stephanie and adorable daughter Veronica. You can learn more about Doc Fox on his personal website.
Target Audience and Difficulty Level
This tutorial is of an intermediate level of difficulty, but was written and designed for a broad audience. It is hoped that anyone from undergraduate students in psychology and related disciplines to doctoral-level psychologists and scholars will find the material accessible, engaging, and relevant.
Upon completing the tutorial, the learner should be able to:
- Identify two of the distinguishing characteristics of human language and how they are accounted for by Relational Frame Theory (RFT)
- Identify definitions and examples of key theoretical concepts in RFT (including derived stimulus relation, functional contextual theory, relational responding, generalized operant, multiple exemplar training, mutual entailment, combinatorial entailment, transformation of stimulus functions, and contextual cues)
- Specify the process by which relational responding leads to derived stimulus relations
- Analyze samples of natural language using the terms and concepts of RFT
This tutorial has many pleasing features, including:
- Full audio narration throughout (with learner control over volume, replaying, and the showing of corresponding text)
- Extensive use of graphics, animations, and interactions to illustrate complex concepts and processes
- Self-paced, so every learner can take as long as he or she needs to learn the material
- Ability to save progress at any point during the tutorial (and return to that point later, so program does not need to be completed in one sitting)
- Progress in lesson and tutorial clearly indicated by progress bar, screen numbers, and lesson numbers
- Instructors can easily make the tutorial an assignment or extra-credit project for their course, training program, or workshop, and then track the progress and performance of their students
- A comprehensive quiz is offered, and learners can take it an unlimited number of times (instructors can see each student's first quiz score, highest quiz score, and number of quiz attempts)
Prerequisite Knowledge Required
Since the tutorial was designed for a broad audience, very little prerequisite knowledge is expected or required. Familiarity with basic principles of learning and conditioning probably helps the most, though these are also addressed at a very general level in the tutorial.
The tutorial consists of 15 lessons and a total of 610 screens of instructional excitement. The length of time it takes people to complete the tutorial varies widely, but many experts in the elearning industry estimate that one should expect to spend about 1 minute per screen. Research on early version of this tutorial’s format, though, indicated that 30 seconds per screen is more accurate (but still with a great deal of variability!). Although the tutorial is long, it does not need to be completed in one sitting; users can save their progress at any time and return to where they left off later.
The tutorial requires only an active internet connection (you must be connected to the internet throughout the program so that your progress can be saved), a web browser, and the Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or later). You probably already have the Flash Player installed, but if you don't it can be downloaded for free
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Accuracy, Utility, and Risks
The content of this tutorial should be considered quite accurate, as it was written by an expert in the field and reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Steven C. Hayes, who led the development of RFT and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Dr. Dermot Barnes-Holmes, who is one of the most prolific RFT researchers and scholars in the world. This tutorial should benefit any psychologist, behavior analyst, student, or behavioral science professional who would like to have a conceptual framework for analyzing human language and cognition that is more functional and pragmatic than the structural analyses of traditional linguistics or cognitive psychology. It will be particularly beneficial to those wishing to understand the theoretical basis of ACT or those working to establish verbal repertoires with children or adults who have language delays. This tutorial will not provide you with training in specific interventions or methods based on RFT, but it will provide you with a conceptual understanding of the theoretical basis of such interventions and methods. There is little to no risk associated with completing this tutorial, aside from the physical risks associated with any computer work (e.g., repetitive stress injuries and eyestrain) and possibly severe boredom.
This tutorial was initially developed as part of the author's dissertation research at Arizona State University. The topic was selected to introduce the complex concepts of Relational Frame Theory (RFT) to a broad audience. An early version was introduced in 2003, with a second version following in Summer 2005, and was awarded the Nova Southeastern Award for Outstanding Practice by a Graduate Student in Instructional Design from the Design & Development division of the Association for Educational Communications & Technology. With an award name that long, you know it's got to be good. The current version was launched on FoxyLearning in January 2010.