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Using Video for Skill Acquisition

Video modeling is one way IDD providers can use technology to help the individuals they serve learn new skills and gain independence. Videos can be used to teach employment tasks and activities of daily living.

The Four Types of Video Modeling

  1. Basic video modeling: you record someone who already knows how to do the task.
  2. Video self-modeling: you record the adult who will use the video doing the task. This is more difficult because the person doing the task does not know how to do it independently (if they did, you wouldn’t be creating a video for them!). Therefore, someone may have to prompt the individual as they do the task, and the video may need to be edited.
  3. Point-of-view video modeling: you shoot the video from the perspective of the person who is doing the task. This is a great way to do modeling, and it isn’t too difficult if you have a camera you can mount on your head, like a GoPro.
  4. Video prompting: you divide the task up into steps, and each step is its own video. The videos are typically taken from the perspective of the person doing the task (point-of-view modeling).

Research Studies

Research shows video prompting is most effective for skills acquisition. In one study from The Ohio State University Department of Educational Studies, researchers tested video modeling against video prompting for two tasks – unloading groceries and setting a table – with six individuals. Video prompting was more effective for both tasks and all participants. The researchers wrote in their paper, published in the journal Education and Training in Development Disabilities:

Anecdotally, participants in the present student did seem to attend more closely to the brief clips that were used with the video prompting procedure. Indeed, they appeared to watch each clip for its entire duration and often performed the step exactly as demonstrated in the video clip, suggesting they were able to remember how to do the step after watching the video clip. During video modeling, in contrast, participants often seemed distracted and frequently looked away from the computer screen as the video was being shown.

In another study, researchers created a video prompting series for young men working in a shipping warehouse. They broke the men’s job down to 104 possible steps. The researchers created a 13-minute video of the job responsibilities and then broke that down into 36 chapters. The researchers found:

Results from this study suggest that the combination of video modeling during pre-employment training and on-the-job video prompting was helpful for individuals with autism when completing a complex shipping task… These results are particularly encouraging given the complexity of the targeted job task which included a high, but realistic criterion performance level in a competitive employment setting, using a variety of electronic devices to test products prior to packing and shipping, making decisions based on test results, determining what to do with defective materials, and using common commercial business accounting and shipping software in the completion of the targeted task.

To create a video prompting series, the first thing you need to do is a task analysis. This process involves breaking down a task into smaller, more manageable steps. How small those steps need to be depends on the skills of the person you are serving. Virginia Depart of Education’s Training and Technical Assistance Center has great resources on how to do a task analysis.

You also have to decide what technology you will use. Assuming you are using a tablet or phone, consider where the device will be placed as the individual is performing the task. Does it need to be mounted to make it easily visible? If the task is something likely to get one’s hands dirty or wet, will the individual be able to use the device independently while doing the task? Perhaps wiping off their hands will have to be part of each step video so they can click on the next video.

You will also need to consider what software to use. Word Toob and inPromptu are iPad apps that are frequently used for video prompting.

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