Why Video Modeling Works
An early learner or someone who has difficulties with observational learning can have a number of issues that will impede their success. These issues can make it more difficult for the learner to learn a skill. Many special needs students fail to learn a skill because of some combination of these issues. Video modeling provides a teaching method that enables students to overcome these issues.
- Representing a viewed behavior: Representing a viewed behavior: Most of us can view a behavior and remember it enough to mimic the behavior. We take the process of mentally representing the viewed behavior for granted but it is actually a very complex process for the brain. Poor observational learners may have representational issues. Video modeling minimizes the representational issue by putting the observed behavior (the model) simultaneous with or shortly behind the execution. This can not only help the student learn to perform the behavior, but it can also help boot strap the representational processes.
- Remembering a viewed behavior: Most of us can remember a viewed behavior for a little while and we get better by seeing it again. There are electro-chemical processes in the brain that keep information active long enough to do something else with the information like trying to mimic the behavior. There are also processes that allow us to recall information. Poor observational learners may have problems with the processes that keep information active and that recall information. Video modeling minimizes how long the student needs to keep information active by making the model and the performance almost simultaneous. This helps learning the task, and it also helps in keeping information active and in recalling information.
- Consistency of model: Learning a behavior is easier if the model is consistent. It is difficult to exactly reproduce our own behavior. It becomes more difficult when multiple people are trying to model and teach a behavior. The video guarantees that the model is consistent making learning the task generally easier and quicker.
- Orientation of model: It is easier, especially for hand- related skills, for us to mimic a behavior if our view of the model is in our perspective. It is relatively easy to video from a personal perspective where as it is frequently difficult for the teacher to model in the same perspective of the student.
- Clear model: When a teacher is trying to teach a skill and help the student be successful, the teacher is modeling, then facilitating along with a multitude of other behaviors. It is clear in the teacher’s mind when she is doing each, but it may not be clear to the student which action is the model. The modeling is supposed to be consistent but the facilitation should change. The separation between what is providing the model versus who is providing the facilitation makes the video model very clear. According to research, the best way to teach a skill is video modeling and the second best way is with two people… one modeling and one facilitating. Due to logistics, we seldom get a teacher to student ratio of one-to-one much less a teacher to student ratio of two-to-one.
- Focus on critical Information: In the natural environment the model may be only a small part of the visual information for students to interpret. With a video we can zoom in to maximize critical information to focus the student on what is most important to learning the skill.
- Minimizing Extraneous Information: There are all sorts of visual information in the natural environment like patterns on the floor, designs in the carpets, lines on the walls, and so on that will distract students and give them something else that they may prefer to watch. With video, we can control the background information that appears in the natural environment, and thereby significantly decrease, if not eliminate, background distractions.
- Perception of threat from model: Some students, especially those with autism, may not like to watch people modeling a behavior, but they will watch a video even of the same people on a computer or television. Teachers work to not threaten students, but some students sense the teachers’ frustrations and/or disappointments when students are not accomplishing the skill after significant effort. The video gives the learner a non-judgmental model on which to focus while the teacher facilitates from behind and beside the student. This arrangement will minimize the student’s perception of a threat.
The Activity Trainer® Activity App® adds a structured and practical teaching environment to video modeling to make video modeling accessible for a wide range of teachers/parents and students.
- The Activity App® provides a variety of presentations incorporating “task analysis” which breaks down skills into steps to allow teaching of individual steps as well as sequences of the steps. The support for task analysis is fundamental to being successful instructing younger children and students that having difficulties learning skills. The Activity App® makes this systematic teaching easy for teachers and parents to implement.
- Additional capabilities help students use skills in the natural environment. The Activity App® teaches a language model as well as a visual model of the skill. The Activity App® also supports transitions from video to image, and image to text.
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