Using a Self-Instructional Package to Train Groups to Implement Reinforcement Strategies

  • Odessa LunaEmail author
  • Nadratu N. Nuhu
  • Jessica Palmier
  • Elizabeth Brestan-Knight
  • John T. Rapp
Original Paper


We trained six special education staff members in groups of three to conduct differential reinforcement of alternative and differential reinforcement of other behavior procedures using a self-instructional package. Our self-instructional packages were written instructions and PowerPoint™ presentations that incorporated embedded text, video modeling, and voiceover instruction. After training, we evaluated each staff member’s implementation of the reinforcement strategies with a simulated student who engaged in problem behavior. After multiple exposures to the self-instructional package in a group training format, two participants mastered both procedures, two participants mastered one procedure, and two participants did not master either procedure. We discuss the clinical implications of the findings and utility of self-instructional packages in a school-consulting role.


DRA DRO Reinforcement strategies Self-instruction package Staff training 



We would like to thank Sarah Bedell for allowing us to use her materials (tokens, token board, and flashcards) for the current study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


  1. Cardinal, J. R., Gabrielsen, T. P., Young, E. L., Hansen, B. D., Kellems, R., Hoch, H., et al. (2017). Discrete trial teaching interventions for students with Autism: Web-based video modeling for paraprofessionals. Journal of Special Education Technology, 32, 138–148. Scholar
  2. Carr, J. E. (2005). Recommendations for reporting multiple-baseline designs across participants. Behavioral Interventions, 20, 219–224. Scholar
  3. Codding, R. S., Feinberg, A. B., Dunn, E. K., & Pace, G. M. (2005). Effects of immediate performance feedback on implementation of behavior support plans. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 38, 205–219. Scholar
  4. Cook, J. E., Subramaniam, S., Brunson, L. Y., Larson, N. A., Poe, S. G., & St. Peter, C. (2015). Global measures of treatment integrity may mask important errors in discrete-trial training. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 8, 37–47. Scholar
  5. Coon, J. C., & Rapp, J. T. (2018). Application of multiple baseline designs in behavior analytic research: Evidence for the influence of new guidelines. Behavioral Interventions, 33, 160–172. Scholar
  6. Countenance, A., Sheldon, J., Sherman, J., Schroeder, S., Bell, A., & House, R. (2014). Assessing the effects of a staff training package on the treatment integrity of an intervention for self-injurious behavior. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 26, 371–389. Scholar
  7. Deliperi, P., Vladescu, J. C., Reeve, K. F., Reeve, S. A., & DeBar, R. M. (2015). Training staff to implement a paired-stimulus preference assessment using video modeling with voiceover instruction. Behavioral Interventions, 30, 314–332. Scholar
  8. Delli Bovi, G. M. D., Vladescu, J. C., DeBar, R. M., Carroll, R. A., & Sarokoff, R. A. (2017). Using video modeling with voice-over instruction to train public school staff to implement a preference assessment. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 10, 72–76. Scholar
  9. DiGennaro, F. D., Martens, B. K., & Kleinmann, A. E. (2007). A comparison of performance feedback procedures on teachers’ treatment implementation integrity and students’ inappropriate behavior in special education classrooms. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 40, 447–461. Scholar
  10. Du, L., Nuzzolo, R., & Alonso-Álvarez, B. (2016). Potential benefits of video training on fidelity of staff protocol implementation. Behavioral Development Bulletin, 21, 110–121. Scholar
  11. Giannakakos, A. R., Vladescu, J. C., Kisamore, A. N., & Reeve, S. A. (2016). Using video modeling with voiceover instruction plus feedback to train staff to implement direct teaching procedures. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 9, 126–134. Scholar
  12. Graff, R. B., & Karsten, A. M. (2012). Evaluation of a self-instruction package for conducting stimulus preference assessments. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45, 69–82. Scholar
  13. Hansard, C., & Kazemi, E. (2018). Evaluation of video self-instruction for implementing paired-stimulus preference assessments. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 51, 675–680. Scholar
  14. Higgins, W. J., Luczynski, K. C., Carroll, R. A., Fisher, W. W., & Mudford, O. C. (2017). Evaluation of a telehealth training package to remotely train staff to conduct a preference assessment. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 50, 238–251. Scholar
  15. Hogan, A., Knez, N., & Kahng, S. (2015). Evaluating the use of behavioral skills training to improve school staffs’ implementation of behavior intervention plans. Journal of Behavioral Education, 24, 242–254. Scholar
  16. Jenkins, S. R., Hirst, J. M., & Reed, F. D. D. (2015). The effects of discrete-trial training commission errors on learner outcomes: An extension. Journal of Behavioral Education, 24, 196–209. Scholar
  17. Kuhn, S. A., Lerman, D. C., & Vorndran, C. M. (2003). Pyramidal training for families of children with problem behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 36, 77–88. Scholar
  18. LeGray, M. W., Dufrene, B. A., Sterling-Turner, H., Olmi, D. J., & Bellone, K. (2010). A comparison of function-based differential reinforcement interventions for children engaging in disruptive classroom behavior. Journal of Behavioral Education, 19, 185–204. Scholar
  19. Lipschultz, J. L., Vladescu, J. C., Reeve, K. F., Reeve, S. A., & Dipsey, C. R. (2015). Using video modeling with voiceover instruction to train staff to conduct stimulus preference assessments. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 27, 505–532. Scholar
  20. Luna, O., Petri, J. M., Palmier, J., & Rapp, J. T. (2018). Comparing accuracy of descriptive assessment methods following a group training and feedback. Journal of Behavioral Education.. Scholar
  21. Martocchio, N., & Rosales, R. (2017). Video modeling with voice-over instructions to teach implementation of the picture exchange communication system. Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice, 17, 142–154. Scholar
  22. Nottingham, C. L., Vladescu, J. C., Giannakakos, A. R., Schnell, L. K., & Lipschultz, J. L. (2017). Using video modeling with voiceover instruction plus feedback to train implementation of stimulus preference assessments. Learning and Motivation, 58, 37–47. Scholar
  23. Parsons, M. B., Rollyson, J. H., & Reid, D. H. (2012). Evidence-based staff training: A guide for practitioners. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 5(2), 2–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pence, S. T., Peter, C. C. S., & Giles, A. F. (2014). Teacher acquisition of functional analysis methods using pyramidal training. Journal of Behavioral Education, 23, 132–149. Scholar
  25. Pence, S. T., Peter, C. C., & Tetreault, A. S. (2012). Increasing accurate preference assessment implementation through pyramidal training. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45, 345–359. Scholar
  26. Petscher, E. S., & Bailey, J. S. (2006). Effects of training, prompting, and self-monitoring on staff behavior in a classroom for students with disabilities. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 39, 215–226. Scholar
  27. Plavnick, J. B., Ferreri, S. J., & Maupin, A. N. (2010). The effects of self-monitoring on the procedural integrity of a behavioral intervention for young children with developmental disabilities. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43, 315–320. Scholar
  28. Ramon, D., Yu, C. T., Martin, G. L., & Martin, T. (2015). Evaluation of a self-instructional manual to teach multiple-stimulus without replacement preference assessments. Journal of Behavioral Education, 3, 289–303. Scholar
  29. Sarokoff, R. A., & Sturmey, P. (2004). The effects of behavioral skills training on staff implementation of discrete-trial teaching. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 37, 535–538. Scholar
  30. Spiegel, H. J., Kisamore, A. N., Vladescu, J. C., & Karsten, A. M. (2016). The effects of video modeling with voiceover instruction and on-screen text on parent implementation of guided compliance. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 38, 299–317. Scholar
  31. St. Peter Pipkin, C., Vollmer, T. R., & Sloman, K. N. (2010). Effects of treatment integrity failures during differential reinforcement of alternative behavior: A translational model. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43, 47–70. Scholar
  32. Thiessen, C., Fazzio, D., Arnal, L., Martin, G. L., Yu, C. T., & Keilback, L. (2009). Evaluation of a self-instructional manual for conducting discrete-trials teaching with children with autism. Behavior Modification, 33, 360–373. Scholar
  33. Vladescu, J. C., Carroll, R., Paden, A., & Kodak, T. M. (2012). The effects of video modeling with voiceover instruction on accurate implementation of discrete-trial instruction. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45, 419–423. Scholar
  34. Vollmer, T., Roane, H., Ringdahl, J., & Marcus, B. (1999). Evaluating treatment challenges with differential reinforcement of alternative behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 32, 9–23. Scholar
  35. Weldy, C. R., Rapp, J. T., & Capocasa, K. (2014). Training staff to implement brief stimulus preference assessments. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 47, 214–218. Scholar
  36. Wong, C., Odom, S. L., Hume, K. A., Cox, A. W., Fettig, A., Kucharczyk, S., et al. (2015). Evidence-based practices for children, youth, and young adults with autism spectrum disorder: A comprehensive review. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45, 1951–1966. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

Personalised recommendations