5 Types of Learning in ABA

Applied Behavior Analysis is modernly known based on it’s proven research effectiveness for children with Autism and other types of neurological disabilities. Though B.F. Skinner is commonly referred to as the founding father of Applied Behavior Analysis, there are a few pioneers in the field who have provided different ideas and teaching methods that you may find beneficial in teaching your child. 

  1. Discrete Trial Training by Ivar Lovaas 
    1. This method of teaching is fast paced, engages the child in a one on one setting and involves giving an instruction, providing help if necessary and then providing reinforcement as immediately as possible. This is a very common method of teaching that is used in ABA services for learning listener responding skills, imitation, play and intraverbal skills. 
      1. Children ideal for this teaching method are those who learn with repetition, immediate help and follow through. 
      2. For more information on DTT
  2. Direct Instruction by Siegfried Engelmann
    1. This method includes a small group of students and provides the teacher with a manual as well as a response from a group of students. Children are grouped based on their knowledge of the material. The goal is for the students to slowly memorize the material and fix mistakes by hearing their peers successfully recite the material. It is face to face and provides immediate error correction. 
      1. Children ideal for this teaching method learn by memorization and thrive in small groups 
      2. Click this link for more information about Direct Instruction
  3. Incidental Teaching by Mcgee, Daly and Jacobs
    1. This method uses the natural environment and intentionally has the instructor set it up to encourage children to learn and initiate. Reinforcers are placed in sight but out of reach to encourage requests and the environment is used with different people and different locations to encourage generalization of the skills learned. Children are given several opportunities to learn throughout the day and based on the child’s motivation. 
      1. Children ideal for this teaching method are those who struggle to communicate and enjoy learning naturally
      2. Click here for more information on Incidental Teaching
  4. Personalized System of Instruction (PSI) by Fred Keller
    1. This method breaks down a skill into several meaningful parts, is self paced, personalized and requires a proctor or person to help each individual. This teaching method requires a 90% mastery of each unit to be able to move on to the next unit or skill level. 
      1. Children ideal for this teaching method enjoy learning at their own pace and can do a bulk of work on their own and have improved attending skills. 
      2. For more information on PSI 
  5. Precision Teaching by Ogden Lindsley
    1. This system of teaching emphasizes that “the student is always right”, provides an assessment at the beginning of the system and then uses data to record how the child is progressing. Data is collected using a specific type of chart called a standard celeration chart that indicates the child’s progress. 
      1. Children ideal for this system of teaching are children who enjoy individual learning and benefit from repetitive teaching.
      2. For more information on PT

While these teaching methods vary in their way of teaching, they have all been backed by research and implementation to stand the test of time and be valuable to learners. It is our hope that these methods will be able to teach your children new information and systems to benefit their development and skills across all environments.