What is Video Modeling?

Child watching video modeling video

Video Modeling is a visual teaching method that occurs by watching a video of someone modeling a targeted behavior or skill and then imitating the behavior/skill watched.

To users, Video Modeling is a simple and effective teaching tool that motivates children to learn through a fun and enticing visual medium.

How is Video Modeling Used?

  • The student watches the model demonstrate the skill/skills.
  • After watching the video, the student begins to imitate skills from the video. Skills performed can be either new skills learned or changes to existing behaviors.
  • The student then begins to generalize or utilize that skill in his or her normal environment. This usually requires intervention and practice in the environment.

Children playing with blocks

Why is Video Modeling So Effective?

Video modeling has been proven to be a highly effective means of teaching all children, especially children with autism.

“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, 261-284, 2007

“Students with ASD learn best through visual means.”

Hodgdon, 1995; Mesibov & Shea, 2008; Mesibov, Shea, & Schopler, 2004; Quill, 1997; Simpson et al., 2008

Children learn through play and children WANT to play.

“Given the opportunity to observe videos of social interactions in the context of play, these children engaged in reciprocal play interactions with typically developing peers.”

MacDonald, R.

Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 2009 Spring; 42(1):  43-55

Albert Bandura developed the social learning theory that recognized that people can learn new information and behaviors by watching other people. This is known as observational learning or modeling.

In his famous Bobo doll experiment, Bandura demonstrated that children learn and imitate behaviors they have observed in other people. 

He identified models of learning through observation, including a symbolic model, which involves real or fictional characters displaying behaviors in books, films, television programs, or online media. For more information see the following:

Bandura, A. (1965).

Influence of models' reinforcement contingencies on the acquisition of imitative responses, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1, 589-595.


Bandura, A. (1977).

Social Learning Theory. New York: General Learning Press.

Why Use Video Modeling?

  • Insufficient social skills instruction for children is provided in schools.
  • Ease of use.
  • Fun and engaging videos promote a child’s desire to interact with the video.
  • Children learn in a naturalistic environment.
  • Repetition of a video does not require costly therapy.
  • Studies show that prompting and reinforcement are not necessary to learn from a video.
  • Autistic children are naturally attracted to video and visual inputs.
  • RAPID acceleration of skills.
  • Ability to teach an endless array of skills, behaviors, language, etc.
  • Opportunity to teach multiple skills within one video scenario.
  • Capitalizes on a teaching method infrequently used in traditional settings.
  • Video Modeling can be successfully used to teach social-communication skills, functional skills, and behavioral functioning.
  • Autistic children are visual learners, naturally drawn to video and other visual inputs. Video modeling for children with autism is a natural “fit” for teaching all types of skills.
  • Children identify with peers and models similar to them, and are therefore engaged when watching them.
  • Video Modeling WORKS.

Visually Based Teaching Strategies Assist Students in Focusing and Attending to Relevant Stimuli.

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
  • Ability to process visual information more readily than verbal communication

(Corbett & Abdullah, 2005)


Watch Me Learn Educational Products

Did you know that Watch Me Learn has produced an award winning series of educational videos based on Video Modeling teaching techniques?

Watch Me Learn is dedicated to helping kids with autism learn using the proven video modeling method.

Why is Watch Me Learn so Effective?

  • Easy to use
  • Visual teaching tool
  • Teaches real-life skills.
  • Uses realistic and natural settings and situations
  • Children learn from watching other children
  • Stress and anxiety free learning
  • Effective, but at same time a fun way to learn

We’ve made it easy to try are Video Modeling based learning products for yourself.

Our Videos are now available to instantly watch on your favorite device, including smartphone, tablet, computer or TV.

Learn more about Our Products >>

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