Study ABA

Why Study ABA – Applied Behavioural Analysis?ABA is a therapy based on the science of learning and behaviour. Applied Behavioural Analysis is most commonly known in Ireland as an intervention for children and people with autism.

What is Applied Behavioural Analysis?

Behavioural analysis is the study of behaviour.

It focuses on understanding why people act the way they do, how behaviour can be changed, and how certain behaviours can be prevented.

By using the principles of learning theory, behaviour analysts can improve the quality of life for individuals and families.

Applied Behaviour Analysis helps us to understand:

  • How behaviour works
  • How behaviour is affected by the environment in which we live
  • How learning takes place

ABA therapy applies our understanding of how behaviour works to real situations. The goal is to increase behaviours that are helpful and reduce behaviours that are harmful or impact learning.

ABA therapy can help to:

  • Increase communication and language skills
  • Improve attention, focus, social skills and memory
  • Decrease problem behaviours

Behaviour analysis has been studied since the 1960s. The research has helped learners to gain a broad range of skills – from learning a new language to being able to deal with different real life situations.

What are the origins of Behaviour Analysis?

Behaviourism evolved through the work of three theorists: Ivan Pavlov, John B. Watson, B. F. Skinner and their study of conditioning. According to, 

Conditioning in behavioral psychology is a theory that the reaction (“response”) to an object or event (“stimulus”) by a person or animal can be modified by ‘learning’, or conditioning. The most well-known form of this is Classical Conditioning, and Skinner built on it to produce Operant Conditioning.

  • Pavlov discovered the conditioning reflex during his studies with dogs. His research demonstrated that an environmental stimulus (e.g. a ringing bell) could be used to stimulate a conditioned response (e.g. dog salivating at the sound of the ringing bell). Pavlov’s research led to the development of classical conditioning as a learning method.
  • John B. Watson furthered Pavlov’s theory of human behaviour and studied how a fear response could be learned through conditioning processes.
  • B. F. Skinner introduced the concept of operant conditioning. This theory uncovered that humans and animals learn to behave to get rewards and avoid punishments.

Study Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) 5N1729 with us today:

The QQI component title of this module is Applied Behavioural Analysis Module Code: 5N1729. The module is at Level 5 and holds a credit value of 15 credits on the National Framework of Qualifications.

Click here to enrol or find out more about this course and the three study options available.

Course Completion Times:

Complete this course in as little as 4 weeks full time study or 9 weeks of part time study.

Who should complete this course?

This module is suitable for those looking to understand the science of behaviour to help individuals they work with to make meaningful improvements in key skill areas to achieve a higher quality of life.



  • Images used under licence from
  • Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2019). Applied Behaviour Analysis (3rd Edition). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education.

Website Resources

  • Levy, I. M., Pryor, K. W., & McKeon, T. R. (2016). Is Teaching Simple Surgical Skills Using an Operant Learning Program More Effective Than Teaching by Demonstration?. Clinical orthopaedics and related research, 474(4), 945–955.
  • Sturdy, B., Nicoladis, E. (2017) How Much of Language Acquisition Does Operant Conditioning Explain? Front. Psychol.,
  • Images used under licence from