Publications

Below you will find some of my publications for your reading pleasure. Click on a title to view its abstract or to download the full publication. Please try to contain your excitement.

Clarifying Functional Contextualism

Fox, E. J. (2006). Clarifying functional contextualism: A reply to commentaries. Educational Technology Research & Development, 54 (1), 61-64.

Several prominent researchers and theorists in the field of instructional design and technology provided commentary on my article, “Constructing a Pragmatic Science of Learning and Instruction with Functional Contextualism” (Fox, 2005). Some of the important issues raised by those commentaries are addressed briefly in this reply. In particular, further clarification is provided regarding the distinction between theory and philosophy, the relation between functional contextualism and objectivism, the empirical basis and applications of relational frame theory (RFT), and the analytic goals of functional contextualism and instructional design.

Download: PDF icon FunctionalContextualismReply_Fox.pdf

Comparing Strategies for Teaching Abstract Concepts in an Online Tutorial

Fox, E. J., & Sullivan, H. J. (2007). Comparing strategies for teaching abstract concepts in an online tutorial. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 37 (3), 307-330.

The purpose of this study was to compare traditional classification training for a set of abstract concepts with multiple relations training consisting of inference practice and the use of a content diagram. To examine this, 200 undergraduate and graduate psychology students completed a Web-based tutorial covering the abstract concepts of a psychological theory of language and cognition. All participants received the same core instructional content and practice activities varied by experimental condition: some participants received classification training, some received multiple-relations training, some received a combination of both, and some received neither. Performance on a posttest with three subsections was evaluated. Participants who received classification training were significantly better at identifying new instances of the concepts than participants who did not. Neither classification training nor multiple-relations training had a significant effect on ability to identify concept definitions or answer application questions. Implications for the development of instruction for abstract concepts are discussed.

Download: PDF icon FoxSullivan2007.pdf

Constructing a Pragmatic Science of Learning and Instruction with Functional Contextualism

Fox, E. J. (2006). Constructing a pragmatic science of learning and instruction with functional contextualism. Educational Technology Research & Development, 54 (1), 5-36.

Constructivism has been embraced by many in the field of instructional design and technology (IDT), but its advocates have struggled to move beyond theory to practice or to empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of their approach. As an alternative to constructivism, a new perspective emerging in psychology, known as functional contextualism, is presented. Like constructivism, functional contextualism also rejects objectivist epistemology, but provides a much more coherent philosophical basis on which to build an empirical science of learning and instruction. The philosophical worldview known as contextualism is reviewed to outline the similarities and differences between constructivism and functional contextualism, and the key characteristics of functional contextualism and the science it supports, behavior analysis, are described. Implications of functional contextualism for research and practice in IDT are then explored.

Download: PDF icon FunctionalContextualism_Fox.pdf

Contextualistic Perspectives on Instructional Technology

Fox, E. J. (2008). Contextualistic perspectives. In J. M. Spector, M. D. Merrill, J. van Merriënboer, & M. P. Driscoll (Eds.) Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (3rd Ed.). (pp. 55-66). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

This chapter provides an overview of Stephen Pepper’s philosophical worldviews (1942) as a way of clarifying the philosophical assumptions of different perspectives. A detailed analysis of contextualism is provided, and the manner in which this worldview relates to both constructivist and behavioral theories in instructional design is explicated.

Download: PDF icon ContextualismChapter.pdf

Effects of Computer-Based Fluency Training on Concept Formation

Fox, E. J., & Ghezzi, P. M. (2003). Effects of computer-based fluency training on concept formation. Journal of Behavioral Education, 12 (1), 1-21.

This study provides a preliminary analysis of how the techniques of fluency training can be combined with systematic concept instruction to improve the learning of complex verbal concepts. Fluency techniques, which require the learner to respond accurately at high rates, have typically focused on definition learning when teaching concepts. Instructional psychologists, however, recommend multiple exemplar training for conceptual instruction. To examine this issue, 41 undergraduate students completed a computer-based instructional module on logical fallacies. Participants were assigned to one of four groups, with the modules for each group differing only in the type of practice provided—either fluency or practice with either examples or definitions. Examination of posttest scores revealed significantly higher scores for participants in the examples groups than those in the definitions groups, but low experimental power prevented a clear conclusion to be drawn about differences between the fluency and practice groups. Implications of results and several methodological issues relevant to this area of research are discussed.

Download: PDF icon FoxGhezzi2003.pdf

Expansion of OBM: How RFT and ACT Can Influence Our Field

VanStelle, S. E., Koerber, J. L., & Fox, E. J. (2010). Expansion of OBM: How RFT and ACT can influence our field. OBM Network News, 24(3), 11-14.

The present paper was prompted by a discussion that took place on the OBM Network Google group in January/February 2010. The introduction of this paper is designed to provide some context for those OBM Network members who do not follow the Google group postings and, additionally, to provide a brief overview of Relational Frame Theory (RFT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to the OBM community.

Download: PDF icon obmrftact.pdf

Performance Improvement Competencies for Instructional Technologists

Klein, J. D., & Fox, E. J. (2004, March/April). Performance improvement competencies for instructional technologists. Tech Trends, 48 (2), 22-25, 79.

Human performance technology (HPT) is having a significant impact on the field of instructional design and technology (IDT), and many IDT graduate programs now offer training in HPT to their students. Some IDT programs may be struggling with the extent to which they should incorporate the principles and techniques of HPT into their courses, however. The purpose of this article is to report the results of a survey conducted to determine performance improvement competencies for graduates of IDT programs. A sample of faculty and practitioners used a web-based survey to rate the importance of HPT skills and knowledge for IDT graduates. Results of the survey can provide guidance to programs seeking to prepare their graduates for today’s workplace and may shed light on which HPT processes and interventions should be emphasized.

Download: PDF icon KleinFox2004.pdf

Relational Frame Theory: An Overview of the Controversy

Gross, A. C., & Fox, E. J. (2009). Relational frame theory: An overview of the controversy. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 25, 87-98.

Although Skinner’s Verbal Behavior (1957) was published over 50 years ago, behavior-analytic research on human language and cognition has been slow to develop. In recent years, a new behavioral approach to language known as relational frame theory (RFT) has generated considerable attention, research, and debate. The controversy surrounding RFT can be difficult to fully appreciate, partly because of the complexity of the theory itself and partly because the debate has spanned several years and several journals. The current paper aims to provide a concise overview of RFT and a summary of key points of debate and controversy.

Download: PDF icon GrossFox_RFTControversy.pdf

The Impact of Skinner's Verbal Behavior on Organizational Behavior Management

Fox, E. J., & VanStelle, S. E. (2010). The impact of Skinner's Verbal Behavior on Organizational Behavior Management. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 30, 70-81.

In the book Verbal Behavior, Skinner provided a comprehensive, behavioral account of language. While the impact of Skinner’s analysis on empirical research has been examined broadly, this review of the literature focused on studies relevant to organizational behavior management (OBM). Both empirical and nonempirical journal articles in OBM were analyzed, along with several influential books in the field. The results of this review indicate that the conceptual framework provided in Verbal Behavior has had virtually no impact on empirical research in OBM and very limited impact on conceptual work. Potential reasons for this lack of influence are discussed, and further research on verbal behavior in organizations is encouraged.

Download: PDF icon FoxVanStelle2010.pdf

The Personalized System of Instruction: A Flexible and Effective Approach to Mastery Learning

Fox, E. J. (2004). The Personalized System of Instruction: A flexible and effective approach to mastery learning. In D. J. Moran & R. W. Malott (Eds.), Evidence-based educational methods (pp. 201-221). San Diego: Elsevier Academic Press.

This chapter provides an overview of the Personalized System of Instruction (PSI), a flexible and mastery-based model of teaching developed by Fred Keller and others in the 1960s. The key features of the model are defined and redefined, and the empirical support for the approach is reviewed. It is argued that PSI remains a compelling and attractive model for course development.

Download: PDF icon Fox2004.pdf

Using Video Technology to Disseminate Behavioral Procedures: A Review of Functional Analysis: A Guide for Understanding Challenging Behavior (DVD)

Carr, J. E., & Fox, E. J. (2009). Using Video Technology to Disseminate Behavioral Procedures: A Review of Functional Analysis: A Guide for Understanding Challenging Behavior (DVD). Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 42, 919-923.

Although applied behavior analysis has generated many highly effective behavior-change procedures, the procedures have not always been effectively disseminated. One solution to this problem is the use of video technology, which has been facilitated by the ready availability of video production equipment and software and multiple distribution methods (e.g., DVD, online streaming). We review a recent DVD that was produced to disseminate the successful experimental functional analysis procedure. The review is followed by general recommendations for disseminating behavior-analytic procedures via video technology.

Download: PDF icon CarrFox2009.pdf