Video Modeling in Practice

Adding Video Modeling to your program benefits both teacher and student by adding flexibility, fun and reducing stress!

Teaching Becomes Flexible and Fun

Use Video Modeling in practice to make teaching and learning easier! Benefits include: fun, reduced stress, teaching flexibility, a multi-sensory teaching approach, and the variety of ways it can be used within a teaching setting.

Teaching comes alive while children watch, learn, imitate and have fun in “real life”. The real secret to Video Modeling is having fun while learning many things in many different ways.

Learning with Less Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety create a negative situation, which makes learning difficult. In a traditional teaching situation the need for person-to-person interaction can cause stress and anxiety. A child is unnecessarily burdened by the need to overcome this stress and anxiety before they can focus on what is being taught. Learning suffers, or does not happen.

Video modeling changes all that. An important benefit of video modeling is that it removes the necessity of person-to-person interaction from the learning process. Removing this interaction takes pressure off the child and allows the child to concentrate on the video.

Child watching video modeling video

Attending to video only, a learner concentrates and is less distracted.

“Children attend more to video models than live models, reducing the level of anxiety and distress related to some social interactions.”

Charlop-Christy & Daneshvar, 2003.

Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 5, 12-21.

Minimizing sensory stimuli, the learner can concentrate on the video. The video teaches the lesson.

“Children with autism are often very easily distracted and cannot attend to humans or their environment. By minimizing attentional requirements, requiring the child to look only at a small spatial area (television or computer), and to hear only the minimum necessary language, children are more able to direct their focus to relevant stimuli.”

(Sherer et al., 2001).

Video Modeling - The Why, Where, What, How and When

Answer these questions, remove the mystery of Video Modeling and don’t hesitate to dive in!

Why do children with Autism Spectrum Disorders require repetition and engagement to learn?

  • Repetition is practice.
  • All people need repetition to learn a skill well. For skills to be easily retrieved and carried out, it is much easier to do this when the skill is “more familiar” to the brain.
  • Watch Me Learn videos provide content repetition.
  • Repetition is perhaps the most intuitive principle of learning, traceable to ancient Egyptian and Chinese education, with records dating back to approximately 4,400 and 3,000 B.C., respectively (Aspinwall, 1912, pp. 1, 3). In ancient Greece, Aristotle commented on the role of repetition in learning by saying “it is frequent repetition that produces a natural tendency” (Ross & Aristotle, 1906, p. 113) and “the more frequently two things are experienced together, the more likely it will be that the experience or recall of one will stimulate the recall of the other”

Why do children with Autism Spectrum Disorders need to be engaged in a learning activity?

Children engaged in an activity will learn much faster.

Video modeling is a tool used to stimulate the visual senses. Children with ASD are visual learners and learn from visual teaching.

“To learn, you need to be paying attention. Anything that detracts your attention is going to have a negative effect on observational learning. If the model is interesting or there is a novel aspect to the situation, you are far more likely to dedicate your full attention to learning.”

Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Englewood

Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

The educational reformer, philosopher and psychologist John Dewey believed that education should be child-centered, active and interactive, and that education must involve the child’s social world and community. (Dewey, J. The child and the curriculum. University of Chicago Press, 1902.)

Where can Video Modeling be used?

VM can be used in therapy, school, home or anywhere there is access to video equipment. Since repetition is vital, using VM in multiple places is a great benefit of using VM in practice as it can be used almost anywhere.

What can Video Modeling teach?

Evidence-based studies have shown that VM can teach communication, academic, play, functional, life and social skills. In addition, VM can work to reverse bad behavior and replace with proper behavior. Watch Me Learn videos based on real life scenarios capitalize on this by teaching multiple skills within one scenario. As in real life, utilizing skills does not happen in isolation.

How to use Video Modeling in practice

Using Video Modeling is simple. Video Modeling simply needs to be watched to be effective. In practice, Video Modeling can and should be used in a more complex way. To maximize learning, Video Modeling is used to teach skills through modeling. Practicing the skill is essential for generalization. This practice should start within a context similar to that of the video. Once this is successful, the natural progression is to practice the skill in different real-world environments, to master generalization.

“The more one has practice, the more likely one is to generalize what one has learned into a style of problem solving or inquiry that serves for any kind of task…or almost any kind of task”

J.S. Bruner 1961

“Ideally”, Jerome Bruner writes, interest in the material to be learned is the best stimulus to learning” (Smith, M.K., ‘Jerome S. Bruner and the process of education’, The encyclopedia of Informal Education, 2002.)

For Teaching Professionals

Pleae visit our In The Classroom page for more information about how Video Modeling can be an effective teaching tool in the classroom.

When Can Video Modeling Be Used?

Video Modeling (VM) can be used at almost anytime. Utilizing VM in practice depends on the children or child. Because children love to watch, some teachers and parents use VM as a reward. VM can be used during teaching periods in school.  
VM can be used as “homework” at home at a convenient time. Children usually write their homework. VM allows them to watch their homework. 

Learning and FUN - the “Real” Secret Behind Video Modeling’s Success.

Children learn naturally in real life. How do they learn? They learn through play. Playing is FUN. Bringing learning and playing together is by far the best way to learn!

Navigating an obstacle course is FUN play, and an extensive teaching opportunity.

As an example, the School Days video has a scenario designed to teach prepositions and the related actions and places that go with them. This lesson was taught in a gym class while running an obstacle course that required children to use the actions in the course. They have to wiggle THROUGH the tunnel, crawl UNDER the bar, place the ball IN the basket, go AROUND a cone and more.

Not only did the children learn the associated prepositions, but they learned gross motor skills, play skills, following directions, turn taking skills and more.  Furthermore, this was done in a real environment, not in an isolated setting.

Let’s make our own obstacle course!
After watching the obstacle course scenario, Parents and teachers later shared that children were setting up their own obstacle courses and actively playing with other children running through the course. In practice, this covers gross motor skills, planning, social skills, communication and cooperation.

Ring around the Rosy: play, giggles, talking, and friends!

The Let's Play! video has a scenario designed to teach children basic interactions, play skills, gross motor skills, social skills and language. This lesson was taught in a back yard playing “ring around the rosy”.

The kids asked other kids to play!

A special education teacher shared a story with me about the Watch Me Learn video and the exciting result! During a period of down time, a small classroom of children went into an adjoining classroom and initiated a “ring around the rosy” game with the other class. Prior to this engagement, there was never any type of social initiation by the children!

How You Can Put Video Modeling into Practice.

Like any other teaching strategy, start with an objective of what needs to be taught, how it will be taught, when it will be considered as mastered, and then using it in life (generalization).

Back to Top