Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #117
CE Offered: BACB
Advances in the Application of Evidence-Based Training Procedures
Saturday, May 29, 2021
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Area: TBA/EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Robert LaRue (Rutgers University)
Discussant: Richard G. Smith (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Richard G. Smith, Ph.D.

Behavior analysts have an ethical responsibility to use evidence-based procedures for the purpose of training staff to implement programming. Behavioral skills training (BST) is a well-established procedure used by behavior analysts for the purpose of training parents and staff members. While BST has strong empirical support and is commonly used in applied settings, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges to the provision of effective training. These training challenges can have detrimental effects on parents, staff, and the individuals they are trying to help. The purpose of the current symposium is to share some recent advances in the delivery of behavioral skills training. Symposium topics will include: using computer-based training to train teachers to develop token-based reinforcement systems, using remote training to teach staff to write skill acquisition programs, using virtual platforms to train staff to implement functional analyses, and to train staff to select appropriate data collection procedures. The symposium will conclude with a discussion about best practices regarding training.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): BST, telehealth
Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to identify the key components of effective training. At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to identify constraints to training procedures when trainers cannot be physically present in the training environment with trainees. At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to identify strategies for improving the quality of training via telehealth.
Virtual Evaluation of Computer-Based Instruction for Preparing Teachers to Establish Token-Based Reinforcement Systems
SAMANTHA JEAN BOYLE (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Dorothea C. Lerman (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Ning Chen (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Kelsey Leadingham (University of Houston-Clear Lake)
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need to evaluate the effectiveness of virtual training models. Although many teachers use token-based reinforcement systems in classrooms, few receive specialized training in how to establish them. In this study, six teachers received computer-based training that included lectures, written materials, and video models on how to establish tokens as conditioned reinforcers and how to thin the token exchange schedule. The experimenter used a multiple baseline design across teachers to evaluate the effects of the training on teacher's implementation of the treatment components. Pre- and post-training sessions were conducted via virtual role plays with confederate students. Four of six teachers met the mastery criterion with computer-based training alone, and the remaining two participants did so after the experimenter prompted them to review the written training materials. The experimenter evaluated generalization to in-person role play for three of the teachers. All three teachers continued to perform at mastery criterion levels when implementing the procedures with a family or friend who acted as a confederate student. Results suggest the efficacy of virtual training models for providing remote instruction and for evaluating training outcomes.

Training Behavior Analysts to Conduct Functional Analyses Using a Remote Group Behavioral Skills Training Package

LINDSAY LLOVERAS (University of Florida ), Savannah Tate (University of Florida), Kerri P. Peters (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)

Abstract: Behavioral skills training (BST) is a well-established procedure often used to train individuals how to perform a variety of complex skills. Previous research has used BST to train parents, teachers, and clinicians how to conduct a variety of clinical procedures, including functional analysis (FA) of problem behavior. Although this procedure has been demonstrated to be very effective, it can be time consuming and resource intensive. In the present study, 13 behavior analysts were trained to conduct functional analyses of problem behavior and 6 behavior analysts were trained to disseminate the training throughout the company (i.e., how to train others). All participants were employees of a multi-state early intervention clinic. The training was conducted 100% remotely, and trainers acted as child role-play partners. Participants experienced baseline, an instruction/discussion component, a post-instruction probe, group BST, and a post-BST probe. For some participants, in-situ probes were also conducted. All participants achieved mastery, and in-situ errors were low.


Training ABA Providers to Develop Skill Acquisition Protocols From Research Articles

ALLISON PARKER (Caldwell University), Tina Sidener (Caldwell University), Ruth M. DeBar (Caldwell University), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University), Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell University)

According to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, services commonly provided by behavior analysts include writing and revising protocols for teaching new skills. Such protocols are often based on in-house or commercially available templates or pre-existing protocols, sometimes lacking individualization or recent research considerations. To our knowledge, there are currently no published, peer-reviewed articles on developing skill acquisition protocols. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of computer-based instruction (CBI) and on acquisition of skills related to writing an individualized protocol based on a research article. Fourteen students enrolled in a university behavior analysis program participated in a matched-subjects group experimental design. The training was separated into three modules on protocol components, identifying important information in a research article, and individualizing the protocol for a learner. Following training, the mean score for the CBI group increased by 40%, and the mean score for the manual group increased by 16%, a statistically significant difference in group means. This study contributes to the literature by applying CBI training procedures to a complex skill, as well as evaluating training in the absence of a trainer, and provides a technology for clinicians to effectively and efficiently learn to write a technological, individualized, and empirically-based protocol.

Training Graduate Students to Select Measurement Methods
EMILY WHITE (Western New England University), Amanda Karsten (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: The purpose of this series of studies was to explore necessary and sufficient conditions for ABA trainees to select appropriate measurement methods in a variety of trained and untrained contexts. In Study 1, we taught students of behavior analysis who were also employed as behavior technicians to select among seven measurement methods in response to trial-unique written scenarios. In Study 2, we evaluated a package to teach discriminated responding between complete measurement scenarios and scenarios that omitted critical contextual variables (i.e., problem scenarios). Performance was assessed via written exams as well as staged, naturalistic probes with confederates. Results for Study 1 and Study 2 indicate that training was efficacious for participants to perform accurately on scenario-based exams including complete and problem scenarios with some evidence of transfer to staged assessments for participants in Study 2 (i.e., accurate performance on at least 1 of 2 probe types for 4 of 4 participants).



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