These consider learning as a change in a student's actions in response to external stimuli. They advocate constant repetition of a task until behaviour adapts or changes.
Feedback from an expert facilitator is a critical factor to encourage positive behaviour and correct 'wrong' behaviour. This approach implies that there is one way to do something, that there is a right way and a wrong way.
It also suggests that all students will learn the same thing in the same way. It typifies the classic model of the student as a passive vessel and teacher as the expert.
Instructivism is a term commonly used to describe a traditional behaviourist approach, where the teacher adopts a didactic approach to delivering content or information to the student.
In this kind of environment, students are not very likely to engage in dialogue with either the teacher or each other.
This approach works well for large numbers of students. Face-to-face, it’s often used for large classes of undergraduate students in lecture halls. In an online environment, this situation can be mirrored by recording lectures and placing them online for large numbers of students to view, such as in a MOOC.
Transcripts of lectures placed online can augment learning, and quiz questions can provide feedback. Adding these elements supports revision effectively and also can help some students with disabilities as they provide audio, video and text versions of the content.
Many distance learning courses adopt this kind of approach, possibly as they are adaptations of previous paper-based courses that delivered a lot of content.