Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Department name when degree awarded

Education(Curriculum and Instruction)


James Barta


The individualized education program (IEP) is a critical component of providing special education services to children with disabilities, outlining the services and modifications that will be provided to help them make progress towards the general curriculum. While simulations have been shown to be an effective means of teaching special education policies and procedures, this can be challenging when working with distance students. The purpose of this study was to identify and examine how virtual simulations function to train preservice teachers learning to conduct IEP team meetings.

Seven preservice special education teachers enrolled in a mild/moderate distance degree and licensure program participated in this research. Through multiple case study analysis, this study examined the specific behaviors emitted by each participant throughout these simulated meetings, as well as the antecedent stimuli and consequences controlling these behaviors. Additionally, participants were each asked to construct rules, based on their own simulated experiences, to govern their future behaviors for in vivo individualized education program team meetings. Results indicate that virtual simulations served a variety of functions for training teachers to work on a collaborative team, including increased practice opportunities and self-efficacy to collaborate with parents in the future. Although teacher trainees had difficulty generating complete verbal statements to govern future behaviors, each was able to identify discrete antecedents, behaviors, and consequences responsible for controlling their actions throughout the simulations.




This work made publicly available electronically on September 2, 2011.