Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 31–40 | Cite as

Virtual discrete trial training for teacher trainees

  • Berglind Sveinbjörnsdóttir
  • Snorri Hjörvar Jóhannsson
  • Júlía Oddsdóttir
  • Tinna Þuríður Sigurðardóttir
  • Gunnar Ingi Valdimarsson
  • Hannes Högni VilhjálmssonEmail author
Original Paper


It is crucial that teaching methods are conducted accurately when teaching children with autism spectrum disorder. This can be addressed by providing new teachers with ample opportunity to practice their teaching skills while receiving feedback from a supervisor. Unfortunately, due to lack of resources, this is not always possible. Advances in Virtual Reality and Virtual Human research are making technical solutions possible, where teachers can receive situational training in simulated environments with virtual students, virtual props and automated feedback. The aim of the present work was to apply this approach to the training of special education teachers that needed to master a teaching method called Discrete Trial Training (DTT), which is particularly well suited for teaching children with autism. The first phase of the project focused on supporting the method itself with constructive feedback and basic interaction with a virtual child. A study, based on in-depth single-subject design, with a group of real teacher trainees, indicates that the teachers were able to demonstrate basic DTT skills after experiencing teaching trials in a VR environment, indicating that this approach is viable.


Virtual reality Teacher training Virtual student Discrete trial training Autism 



We would like to thank Kamilla Rún Jóhannsdóttir for her valuable contribution to the project when it was taking shape. We would also like to thank Ása Rún Ingimarsdóttir for her enthusiasm for the project and for providing access to real teachers in training. This research was supported by grant number 1646460091 from the Icelandic Student Innovation Fund.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Berglind Sveinbjörnsdóttir
    • 1
  • Snorri Hjörvar Jóhannsson
    • 2
  • Júlía Oddsdóttir
    • 2
  • Tinna Þuríður Sigurðardóttir
    • 2
  • Gunnar Ingi Valdimarsson
    • 1
  • Hannes Högni Vilhjálmsson
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, School of BusinessReykjavik UniversityReykjavikIceland
  2. 2.CADIA / School of Computer ScienceReykjavik UniversityReykjavikIceland

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