Operant conditioning is defined as "learning controlled by the consequences of the organism's behavior." In other words, the organism/subject learns through a series of trial and error. The organism does a certain action because it is trying to get something it wants, whether it is food or avoiding an electrical shock. Operant conditioning is also known as "instrumental conditioning" since the organism's response serves as an instrumental function, as said in our Lilienfeld textbook.
I remember in 3rd grade when each individual in my class tried to behave like the "perfect model student" in order to receive a "brain pill" which was in reality a piece of fruity lifesaver candy. Our class had most likely experienced operant conditioning since we learned that if we behaved a certain way, we would get a reward in the end. Our responses were also voluntarily instead of elicited automatically. The "brain pill" (reward) was not given out unconditionally, instead it was given out if the desired behavior was produced. This example was operant conditioning combined with positive reinforcement, which is adding a stimuli in order to increase the likelihood of an outcome. In this example,the positive reinforcement was the piece of candy to boost up the probability of a good student behavior.
Another example of operant conditioning can be seen through this video!
As we read in our textbook, operant conditioning is used in animal training. This video shows an example of that! The dog has most likely experienced operant conditioning and positive reinforcement. We can see that the owner gives the reward, in this case, a dog treat, in some of the scenes. This makes it so that the dog will most likely have a greater resistance to extinction because as our textbooks say, only occasional reinforcement of a behavior results in slower extinction.