Date of Award:

6-5-2012

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Advisor/Chair:

Thomas S. Higbee

Abstract

Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder often require early intensive behavioral interventions (EIBI) to learn new skills and decrease maladaptive behaviors. Discrete trial instruction (DTI) is a strategy behavior analysts often incorporate in EIBI programs. Researchers have demonstrated that DTI is very effective, but it requires intensive training for teachers to implement the strategy with high fidelity. Therefore, researchers have recently begun to investigate more time-efficient methods to train instructors to implement DTI. One method, e-learning, is a multi-media, computer-based training that typical includes audio narration, videos, and graphics. E-learning is a lowcost, time-efficient alternative to the traditional face-to-face training method. Very little research has been conducted thus far to evaluate the effectiveness of e-learning for teaching behavioral intervention techniques. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the use of e-learning to teach university students to implement discrete trial instruction with children with autism. Four participants completed the e-learning training package and we found that all participants’ fidelity when implementing DTI increased in role plays with an adult. All participants also were able to accurately implement DTI when teaching a child with autism and we observed generalization to untrained instructional programs. All participants were able to complete the training in an average of 2 hours and the social validity questionnaire indicated that participants felt the training was interesting and useful to help them learn how to implement DTI.

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