The use of online instruction is increasingly used in higher education. The effectiveness of online virtual training in higher education needs continuous research. Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA) are assessments used often in behavioral and educational professions and are often taught in graduate schools through classroom instruction and case studies. This study evaluates the effectiveness of on an online virtual FBA training program through Relias Learning on the knowledge and generalization of administering Functional Behavior Assessment. Eighteen Dietetic Interns participated through their graduate class. Pre and post case studies were administered before and after the Virtual FBA Training. Results show an overall increase in knowledge and generalization in the ability to conduct an FBA within scenarios.


Presented at ABAI Conference 2015. Manuscript in Preparation. May 2015


Dana Reinecke
Michelle Morgan
Keri McCombs
Cheryl Ostryn


Applied Behavior Analysis, Past, Simulation-based Learning


Sage Colleges


The Effectiveness of Virtual Assessment Training

Use of a virtual training module to teach about functions of behavior to graduate students in a nutrition-based program


Almost seventy-percent of all private and public colleges are offering fully online programs. There is a general increase in enrollment of online college courses. Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA) are assessments utilized to assess the purpose and function maladaptive behaviors serve for the individual exhibiting them. Teaching graduate students how to use FBAs in a graduate setting is usually done through classroom discussion and case study review. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of an online virtual exercise on graduate students knowledge and generalization of using Functional Behavior Assessment to their field of study.




18 Dietetic Internship students participated



Students in a graduate-level dietetic internship program were provided with the opportunity to learn about functions of behavior through an online interactive module, which included videos and guided activities for functional behavior assessment. Interns were recruited from Sage College in New York. The online course, Functions of Behavior was delivered through Relias Learning in their ABA Library.



Pre-and Post-test design: Pre and post case studies and open-ended questions were given to each participants to identify problem behaviors in individuals with feeding problems. They were asked to identify the problem behaviors in need of intervention and then asked to what information they might gather and how they might go about changing the client’s behavior.



The Relias Learning course, Functions of Behavior provides video based demonstrations of identifying observable and measurable behaviors. It then provides video scenarios of three children with behavior problems and practice opportunities for the participants to collect behavior assessment data and identify functions of behavior and create a behavior plan. Each participant was randomly assigned to a group, Group 1 was assigned Case Study “Jane” as the pretest and Case Study “Bill” as the post-test. Group 2 was assigned Case Study “Bill” as the pretest and Case Study “Jane” as the post-test. Each participant completed pre and post case study questions before and after the online training. Scoring was completed by blind graders who were not aware what person, group or whether the test they were grading was a pre-test or post-test. 


Results and Discussion

Comparisons of pre- and post-test scores across these variables indicate improvements in use of objective, behavioral terminology to describe relevant behavior, environmental events, and possible functions of behavior overall for participants that completed the Online Virtual Exercise through Relias Learning. 

effectiveness of virtual FBA training

The availability of technology for virtual training in assessment of the functions of behavior presents unique opportunities to provide training in functions of behavior to students in human services. Future research can include evaluation of the direct impact of clinical skills using field observations pre- and post-training.