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Modeling (MD)

Demonstration of a desired target behavior that results in use of the behavior by the learner and that leads to the acquisition of the target behavior.

Evidence Based
Ages: Skip to Evidence

Steps for Implementation

Step 1. Identifying the Target of Instruction

A. Refer to the learner's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) to identify goals.

B. Discuss goals with IFSP/IEP team members, including family and learner.

C. Select and operationalize an observable and measurable goal as a target of instruction.

Step 2. Collecting Baseline Data

  1. Collect baseline data appropriate for the targeted skill.
  2. Collect data on at least three occasions to establish an accurate baseline for the targeted skill.

Step 3. Arranging the Environment to Elicit the Target Behavior

  1. Choose motivating materials/activities to engage learners and promote the use of target skills.
  2. Manage and distribute teaching materials in a way that encourages learners to communicate.

Step 4. Modeling the Target Behavior

  1. Establish shared attention.
  2. Provide a model for the learner to follow.
  3. Expand the response and provide the requested material (if the learner gives the target response), and/or provide the material and state the target response (if the learner still does not give the target response or repeat the model exactly).

Step 5. Monitor Intervention Effectiveness

  1. Develop a system to monitor the effectiveness of the intervention that outlines when, where, by whom, and how data are collected.
  2. Modify the program to reflect the learner’s progress by changing steps (either to higher or lower levels) as needed.
  3. Review mastered programs and continue to teach them as “maintenance” trials.

Research and Outcomes

Research Summary

Age Range: 0-22

Skills: Communication, social, joint attention, play, school readiness, academic/pre-academic, adaptive/self-help, challenging/interfering behavior, vocational, motor

Settings: Home, school, community, clinic

Evidence Rating: Evidence Based

The information found in the Research Summary table is updated following a literature review of new research and these ages, skills, and settings reflects information from this review.

Outcomes Matrix

The Outcomes Matrix shows outcome areas by age for which this evidence based practice is effective
Age: 0-5 6-14 15-22
Academic/Pre-academic Yes Yes Yes
Challenging/Interfering Behavior Yes Yes
Communication Yes Yes Yes
Joint Attention Yes
Mental Health
Motor Yes
Play Yes Yes
School Readiness Yes Yes
Social Yes Yes Yes
Vocational Yes
More about Intervention Outcomes

Modeling (MD) involves the demonstration of a desired target behavior that results in use of the behavior by the learner and that leads to the acquisition of the target behavior. Thus, the learner is picking up on a targeted skill through observational learning. MD is often combined with other strategies such as prompting and reinforcement. Modeling is often referred to as in vivo or live modeling, to differentiate it from video modeling (Steinbrenner, et al., 2020).