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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #436
CE Offered: BACB
Instructional Design and Behavior Analysis: How Closely Aligned Are We?
Monday, May 30, 2022
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Meeting Level 2; Room 205B
Area: EDC; Domain: Theory
Chair: Kerri L. Milyko (CentralReach)
CE Instructor: Timothy C. Fuller, Ph.D.

Instructional Design and Behavior Analysis have a common intellectual through-line. The three papers presented herein explore this through-line and highlight areas of connection and divergence. Particular attention is paid to historical efforts to contribute to instructional design, current practices within behavior analysis to create instructional materials for clinicians working with children diagnosed with Autism and draw attention to possibilities to advance our disciplines' offerings. The first paper highlights efforts made by behavior analytic thinkers that have contributed considerably to behavior analytic efforts in instructional design. The second paper explores a common approach to instructional design with attention paid to the positive and concerning implications of staying the course. The final paper showcases a coherent way forward by behavior analysts to resourcefully embed instructional design into their efforts to make meaningful differences in the lives of the people they serve.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

This symposium is intended for practicing certified/licensed behavior analysts.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentations, participants will be able to: (1) articulate the basic tenets of instructional design; (2) describe the historical and contemporary efforts by behavior analysts to contribute to the discipline of instructional design and; (3) describe ways of incorporating measurement and training systems into ABA practices to better serve their clients.

Designing Instructional Materials for Behavior Analysts: A Report on Progress Made and Opportunities Yet Fulfilled

KERRI L. MILYKO (CentralReach), Kristin Smith Smith (CentralReach), Timothy C. Fuller (Central Reach)

When venturing out into the world, the words “instructional design” or “instructional designer” land differently to members within the verbal communities of business, industry, and education in comparison to those of behavior analysis. When seeking out advanced degrees in instructional design, works by known behavior analytic instructional design giants such as Susan Markel, T.V. Joe Layng, and Kent Johnson are unfortunately ignored. Works by Robert Gagne, Cathay Moore, and M. David Merrill, just to name a few, are much more prevalent. The current paper addresses how instructional design is used in different disciplines by these more cognitive authors and researchers. Models such as ADDIE, Agile, and Action Mapping are discussed with respect to their contributions and limitations to instructional design in multiple contexts and audiences. Further, implications are drawn on how these models can impact behavior analysts in the work they engage in, whether it be in academia, parent training, staff training, curriculum design, as well as providing a general framework for instruction with any learners.


Iterative Processes and Instructional Programming Versus Instructional Design

TIMOTHY C. FULLER (Central Reach), Kerri L. Milyko (CentralReach), Kristin Smith Smith (CentralReach)

The history of instructional design is long with several disciplines contributing to the knowledge base. Though B.F. Skinner’s programmed instruction is credited as an important contribution to instructional design history; the broader role operant theory plays in contemporary instructional design is limited. Within behavior analysis, the design of instructional programming often can tell you more about the instructional preferences of the behavior analyst than the needs of the learner. This paper explores both the history of instructional design as well as what behavior analysts can consider when creating programming for their learners. Particular attention is paid to the notion of an iterative process and how best to consider incorporating it in a broader system of programming. Within an iterative framework the topics of teaching strategy and measurement practice will be addressed.


Empowering Applied Behavior Analysis Providers With Validated Instructional Design

KRISTIN SMITH SMITH (CentralReach), Kerri L. Milyko (CentralReach), Timothy C. Fuller (Central Reach)

It can be daunting for clinicians to design individualized programming for each learner on their caseload. Often, thorough instructional design practices are not consistently practiced by clinicians due to a lack of resources, the experience of the clinician, or the availability of instructional design training. Additionally, the validity of instruction designed for a learner is often not evaluated. When design fails or does not produce the magnitude of change expected, it often becomes a “learner problem” rather than a “teaching problem”. This paper presents a way to realign with instructional design best practices so that clinicians and organizations can resourcefully embed instructional design into their day-to-day clinician practice, ensuring that each skill in a client’s programing is individually designed and effective. Additionally, this paper proposes measurement systems, time saving design practices, and training strategies that will empower practitioners to maintain the integrity of instructional design and maximize their available resources. Further recommendations for establishing and maintaining an iterative design process will be discussed.




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