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This paper proposes a set of adaptive learning rules for binary feedforward neural networks (BFNNs) by means of the sensitivity measure that is established to investigate the effect of a BFNN's weight variation on its output. The rules are based on three basic adaptive learning principles: the benefit principle, the minimal disturbance principle, and the burden-sharing principle. In order to follow the benefit principle and the minimal disturbance principle, a neuron selection rule and a weight adaptation rule are developed. Besides, a learning control rule is developed to follow the burden-sharing principle. The advantage of the rules is that they can effectively guide the BFNN's learning to conduct constructive adaptations and avoid destructive ones. With these rules, a sensitivity-based adaptive learning (SBALR) algorithm for BFNNs is presented. Experimental results on a number of benchmark data demonstrate that the SBALR algorithm has better learning performance than the Madaline rule II and backpropagation algorithms.