A Comparison of Staff Training Methods for Effective Implementation of Discrete Trial Teaching for Learners with Developmental Disabilities
Type of Degreedissertation
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Discrete trial teaching is an effective procedure for teaching a variety of skills to children with autism. However, it must be implemented with high integrity to produce optimal learning. Behavioral Skills Training (BST) is a staff training procedure that has been demonstrated to be effective. However, BST is time and labor intensive, and with the high staff turnover in human service delivery settings, a more efficient staff training method is needed. A computer-based instruction (CBI) program could be an alternative if the program is as effective as BST but is more efficient and cost-effective. The current study compared computer-based instruction to BST to train novice undergraduate students to conduct discrete trial teaching. The two procedures were designed to include optimal instructional components but the delivery and specific response requirements varied across the two experimental conditions. Participants were matched on pre-test performance, randomly assigned to one of the conditions and reevaluated at the completion of training. This study compared the effectiveness, efficiency, and acceptability of the two training procedures to determine if CBI offered a viable alternative to BST. Results indicated that although both BST and CBI were effective at training participants to implement discrete trial teaching, BST was slightly but significantly more effective.