Evaluating the Use of an Online Video Training Program to Supplement a Graduate Course in Applied Behavior Analysis

Evaluating the Use of an Online Video Training Program to Supplement a Graduate Course in Applied Behavior Analysis

Gabrielle T. Lee (Michigan State University, East Lansing, USA) and Tzu-Fen Chang (Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/IJOPCD.2019040102

Abstract

The primary purpose of the present article was to evaluate the effects of a supplemental online video program on student quiz performance for an online course in applied behavior analysis. Nineteen graduate students, in ages ranging from 22 to 40, agreed to participate in this study. A within-subject group design was used. The control condition contained textbook readings and accompanied self-guided notes, while an online video training program was added to supplement the experimental condition. Results indicated that the students scored significantly higher in their weekly quizzes under the condition supplemented with the online video training program. The students perceived the video training program as equally helpful as the textbook, but they enjoyed the online videos significantly more than the textbook. Students' self-reported enjoyment of the online videos was also positively correlated to their quiz performance under the condition supplemented with the videos.
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Introduction

Interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) guided by the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) are recommended as evidence-based practices (Wong et al., 2015). As the number of young children diagnosed with ASD increases, so does the demand for qualified professionals providing ABA services. Additionally, professionals in related disciplines (e.g., special educators) who work with individuals with ASD also seek ABA knowledge. To meet the demands of consumers, online programs in higher education designed to prepare inter-disciplinary service providers for ABA interventions have increased dramatically in recent years (Behavior Analyst Certification Board, 2016). Online programs become an alternative to traditional on-campus programs due to schedule flexibility and convenience of accessibility to the students as well as contributing to cost-savings for the universities (Buzhardt & Semb, 2005).

The quality of instruction is the foundation of quality programs. Pedagogy consisting of empirically validated instructional practices for learners at all ability levels has traditionally been a research focus of ABA (e.g., Keller, 1968; Skinner, 1968). This body of research has suggested several effective instructional practices should be applied to college-level courses, including sequenced materials in units to criterion performance, active student responding, academic engagement, repeated measures with immediate or specific feedback, individualized pacing, and creating motivation to learn through positive reinforcement rather than escaping from aversive contingencies (Boyce & Hineline, 2002; Fienup, Hamelin, Reyes-Giordano, & Falcomata, 2011; Heward, 1994; Keller, 1968).

The increases of ABA online courses in higher education require effective teaching methods be retested when implemented as part of an online format. For example, effective pedagogy derived from behavioral research in the traditional classroom setting may require modification when transferred to online virtual classroom settings in higher education. With the advancement of technology, the online format of instruction has been recognized to potentially facilitate individualized, active, and independent learning processes; however, a review of existing research suggests that empirical support for the applications of effective teaching strategies or online instructional programs in higher education remains limited (Means, Toyama, Murphy, Bakia, & Jones, 2010).

Web- or computer-based educational programs have been developed to teach principles of ABA, and some of these incorporate effective instructional practices. For example, research studies on college instruction addressed the need to incorporate effective teaching practices into an online training program by developing a fully online personalized system of instruction to deliver psychology courses to college students (Martin, Pear, & Martin, 2002a, 2002b; Pear & Crone-Todd, 1999). The components of the above online personalized system of instruction included self-paced unit tests to mastery criterion and the use of proctors to provide quick feedback. Their findings highlight the potential utility and feasibility of a personalized system of instruction in university online courses. However, the use of proctors in the online system to provide accurate and timely feedback on frequent short essays can be challenging to most instructors (Pear & Crone-Todd, 1999).

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