Research and Expert Opinion

Video modeling has been proven to be effective teaching and is finally becoming a hugely successful tool for opening up a world of learning.

“Some key characteristics of ASD make video modeling a natural choice as an intervention tool: Selective attention, restrictive field of focus, preference for visual stimuli, visually cued instruction, avoidance of face-to-face interaction, and ability to process visual information more readily than verbal communication”

Corbett, B.A. & Abdullah, M. (2005)

Video Modeling: Why Does It Work for Children with Autism?

Journal of Early and Intensive Behavior Intervention: Volume 2, Issue No. 1, pp. 2-8.

“In a meta-analysis of 23 studies published between 1987 and 2005, Bellini and Akullian (2007) concluded that “video modeling is an effective intervention strategy for addressing skills important to self-determination for students with ASD, including behavioral functioning, social-communication skills and functional skills. As would be expected according to Bandura’s theory of modeling, students performed best when they were highly motivated and attentive because they enjoyed watching the videos.”

Bellini, S., & Akullian, J.

Exceptional Children, 73, pp. 261-284, 2007

“Video modeling has also been shown to be an effective teaching strategy in facilitating generalization of social skills.”

Christos K. Nikopoulos & Michael Keenan 2004 Spring, 37(1): 93-96

Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis)

University Study Proves Effectiveness of Watch Me Learn

The Utility of Commercial Video Modeling to Enhance Learning for Children with Autism

Caroline de Fina
Monash University, 2010

This study was designed to investigate the effectiveness of including Watch Me Learn video modeling products in educational curricula for children with autism.

In summary, Conclusion of the study proved the hypothesis to be correct; that including Watch Me Learn video modeling significantly increased treatment effectiveness. Watch Me Learn video modeling outperformed direct teaching alone, generalization master criteria was reached much sooner and skill maintenance was achieved.

Additional findings that bear importance:

  • The study implied that the findings are a result of parental involvement using a resource that is easily accessible to families, which can potentially be implemented with minimal professional involvement.
  • Parents involved in the study reported that the videos provided a model of skills and interactions to them as parents as well as to their children. This suggests that commercial video modeling may have the capacity to augment professional treatment as it is a resource that parents can easily access and implement.  This is particularly relevant for families at significant geographical distance to services and with financial constraints on access to services. In addition this enabled parents to learn from the videos on how to teach skills and interactions from watching the video.
  • An unexpected finding of this study was the increased expressive language of a participant.  This language acquisition was NOT a targeted goal nor was it taught directly. The expressive language was used appropriately and maintained without additional intervention or watching video.

Study was completed by a student At Monash University as a thesis as part of a fulfillment for degree of Master of Educational and Developmental Psychology, PhD program under faculty supervision.

The work undertaken was duly authorized by Monash University Human Research Ethics committee.

Visual Imprint on the Brain

Visual images create a “visual database” in the brain. This database can be accessed to remember learned skills. This is the same as an auditory learner would do, access the audio database to remember.

Temple Grandin has referred to her brain as a collection of video tapes. When she needs to think of something, she plays the appropriate video in her mind. This is how she thinks.

“I THINK IN PICTURES. Words are like a second language to me. I translate both spoken and written words into full-color movies, complete sound, which run like a VCR tape in my head. When somebody speaks to me, his words are instantly translated into pictures. Language-based thinkers often find this phenomenon difficult to understand, but in my job as an equipment designer for the livestock industry, visual thinking is a tremendous advantage. Visual thinking has enabled me to build entire system in my imagination.”

Temple Grandin

Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism (Vintage Jan 26, 2010)

“Visual tools provide one of the most direct routes for most learners . . .”

Hyerle, D.

A field guide to using visual tools, ASCD, 2000

“The brain is capable of absorbing 36,000 images every minute.”

Hyerle, D. 

Thinking Maps: Visual Tools for Activating Habits of Mind 2000, p.153

FACT: Approximately 65 percent of the population is visual learners.
Mind Tools, 1009

FACT: The brain processes visual information 60,000 faster than text.
3M Corporation, 2001

FACT: 90 percent of information that comes to the brain is visual.
Hyerle, D, 2000

FACT: 40 percent of all nerve fibers connected to the brain are linked to the retina. Jensen, 1996

FACT: Visual aids in the classroom improve learning by up to 400 percent.
3M Corporation, 2001

FACT: Students who are twice exceptional (2e) are often visual learners. "Statistics on Visual Learners." 11, 2012. Accessed 11, 2012.

Additional Supporting Research

Charlop, M. H., & Milstein, J. P. (1989). Teaching autistic children conversational speech using video modeling. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 22(3), 275-285.

MacDonald, R. (2009). Using Video Modeling to Teach Reciprocal Pretend Play to Children with Autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 2009 Spring; 42(1): 43-55

McCoy, K., & Hermansen, E. (2007). Video Modeling for Individuals with Autism: A Review of Model Types and Effects. Education and Treatment of Children, 30(4), 183-213.

Nikopoulos, C. K., & Keenan, M. (2004). Effects of video modeling on social initiations by children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 37(1), 93-96.

Nikopoulos, C.K.& Keenan, M. Using video modeling to teach complex social sequences to children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2007; 37:808-817.

Rogers, S. J., & Vismara, L. A. (2008). Evidence based comprehensive treatments for early autism. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 37(1), 8-38.

Sherer, M., Pierce, K. L., Paredes, S., Kisacky, K. L., Ingersoll, B., & Schreibman, L. (2001). Enhancing conversation skills in children with autism via video technology. Which is better, “self” or “other” as a model? Behavior Modification, 25(1), 140-158.

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