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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Paper Session #451
Behavioral Methods for Training Teachers and Healthcare Workers
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
618/619 (Convention Center)
Area: EDC
Chair: Lee L. Mason (The University of Texas at San Antonio)

A Function-Based Assessment of Virtual Learning Environments for Training Preservice Teachers

Domain: Applied Research
LEE L. MASON (University of Texas at San Antonio), Peter Blair (Utah State University), Nancy Glomb (Utah State University)

This study takes a new twist on functional assessment interviews by employing qualitative research methods to determine how virtual learning environments function for preservice special education teachers enrolled in a distance teacher education program. The individualized education program 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 toward 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 individualized education program 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. Results indicate that virtual simulations serve a variety of functions for training teachers to work on a collaborative team.


The Use of Simulation Training to Shape Teaching Behaviors in a Multiuser Virtual Environment

Domain: Applied Research
LEE L. MASON (University of Texas at San Antonio), Nancy Glomb (Utah State University), Jim Barta (Utah State University)

Training programs, including teacher education programs, often provide employees with a set of rules to follow in performing their job functions. Typically, the trainee is taught to identify certain conditions, and then state the rule about how to respond in that situation. With skills that are frequently practiced, the behavior eventually comes under control of the natural contingencies in the environment, and rule-governance fades out. However, newly acquired behaviors may not come into contact with the natural contingencies frequently enough to fine-tune or maintain these behaviors. While many teaching behaviors are shaped by day-to-day interaction with students and faculty, others only have the opportunity to occur every so often, and therefore must be maintained by rules. When the natural consequences are too infrequent to maintain such behaviors, preservice teachers may construct specific rules to specify the contingencies of their teaching behaviors. One example of the latter is developing individualized education programs for students with disabilities. This study examined simulation training as a means of teacher development, seeking to uncover the rules generated by each pre-service teacher to manage his or her own behavior within an individualized education program meeting.


Response to Intervention for Higher Education

Domain: Service Delivery
TRUDI GAINES (University of West Florida)

In recent years, the K-12 public school system in many states has begun to implement the response to intervention (RtI) model as a new way to respond to the instructional needs of their students. In an effort to eliminate the use of labels for deficits, RtI emphasizes the examination of the learning environment and how it might be contributing to the student's academic deficits as well the use of instructional strategies in an increasingly intense systematic way for struggling students. The challenges and needs of students in higher education are clearly different from those in the K-12 setting, yet the principles of RtI can be adapted to provide a multitiered system of supports and services at this level of learning as well. The focus in this model is on academic as well as professional behaviors of students as they prepare to be teachers.

Applying Applied Behavior Analysis to the American Heart Association Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) Program: Shaping Behavior of Healthcare Professionals Who Treat Critically Ill Children
Domain: Service Delivery
RICHARD COOK (Penn State University), Keith E. Williams (Penn State Hershey Medical Center)
Abstract: The American Heart Association (AHA) Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) course has become a required certification for many physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals who take care of acutely critically ill children. The course, now in its 24th year and 6th revision, emphasizes key concepts in the first phases of resuscitation of children, including teamwork, performance of medical skills, applying critical interventions, and evaluating their effectiveness. The program's evolution has increased the focus upon consistency in educational content thru the use of video presentations, and purports to place great emphasis on "hands on" learning. However, increased quantity of informational content, decreased time requirements, and lack of task analyzed specific guidelines for skill learning, skill performance, and equipment availability, result in decreased opportunity to learn "cold" the many skills, including the “skills” related to making judgments, conducting clinical evaluations, determining appropriate interventions, evaluating effectiveness, and making ensuing, immediate revisions to the treatment plan. Given the importance of learning psychomotor and algorithmic assessment skills, ABA is well suited for use in both assessing and improving (making more behaviorally consistent) the teaching methods, and in assessing and comparing that which students have learned in the various approaches. While consistency in the manner in which the course is offered is emphasized by the AHA, variations occur regularly not only between programs offered by the many different training centers and sites, but also within the program a given site offers. Task analysis allows one to compare learning of component skills, which can be linked to form habits. While the AHA notes incorporation of techniques for adult learners, evaluation from an ABA perspective quickly reveals areas for improving learning effectiveness, such as in having enough items of equipment to allow the student to develop discrimination, generalization, and maintenance. Some studies cited in support of the program's teaching effectiveness purport supportive conclusions, but fail to cite socially valid or clinically significant parameters or outcome variables, and lack the data to do so. This paper presents a behaviorally based evaluation of the program's teaching approaches, as well as suggestions for changes likely to foster more efficient, generalized, and maintained learning.



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