Technology has paved the way for advances that would have seemed like science fiction only 20 or 30 years ago. From smartphones and smartwatches to self-driving cars and robotics, people have the tools and resources at their fingertips to meaningfully impact their quality of life. A similar advancement has occurred in the education system: technological advances provide exciting, powerful new methods for instructing learners.


One example, video modeling, refers to a method of instruction where a person watches a video of someone completing a task, imitates the modeled behaviors, and learns how to complete the imitated activity. Video modeling's research shows efficacy from preschool children (Green et al., 2017) to medical school residents (Nah et al., 2021). For people with autism, video modeling has returned substantial dividends. 


A meta-analysis from 2007 revealed that video modeling and video self-modeling improved functional skills, social-communication, and behavioral functioning in children and adults with ASD from 3-21 (Bellini & Akullian, 2007). The review indicated video modeling had several advantages -- such as eliminating tangential details or inapplicable actions of the target behavior via video editing. The resulting videos subsequently provide individuals with a clear, focused presentation of the target behavior -- which would likely be impossible without leveraging this technological method of instruction.


Many studies in the meta-analysis covered research from the late 90s and early 2000s. The video technology of that particular era appeared less sophisticated compared to contemporary standards. Researchers often used devices with video cassettes (e.g., Hi8, miniDV) that had limitations like recording time constraints, propensity for damage, and storage issues. Still, the videos yielded digital quality and footage ready for editing. The editing software of the time included Apple’s iMovie and Microsoft’s Windows Movie Maker, among other custom applications.


At the time of this writing, the quality of videos from smartphones far exceeds the necessary specification. Many smartphones have the ability to shoot 1080p, 4k, and even 8k! Other features include low resolutions for shooting in slow-mo and optics that work even in low light. And the ease with which people can video from third and first person, using devices like a GoPro, makes capturing behaviors and complex skills easier than ever.

Software options for collating behavioral sequences have also significantly advanced. Almost all modern computers, tablets, and even smartphones come preloaded with advanced video editing software. Additionally, commercial options like avail include preloaded pictures and video sequences that arm users with everything they need to effortlessly create custom sequences and store them in their own libraries.


Research on video modeling and video prompting continue to impress. The advancements cover life-important behaviors such as daily living skills, social skills, health and wellness, safety (e.g., abduction), and other critical vocational and community-based skills. Also, the research base conclusively demonstrates video modeling and video prompting have efficacy as an instructional method. The technology for producing and editing videos has become widespread, and increasingly user-friendly -- making it easier than ever for ABA professionals to leverage in order to improve client treatment and outcomes.



Bellini, S., & Akullian J. A (2007). Meta-Analysis of Video Modeling and Video Self-Modeling Interventions for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Exceptional Children, 73(3), 264-287.

Green, V. A., Prior, T., Smart, E., Boelema, T., Drysdale, H., Harcourt, S., Roche, L., & Waddington, H. (2017). The Use of Individualized Video Modeling to Enhance Positive Peer Interactions in Three Preschool Children. Education and Treatment of Children 40(3), 353-378.

Mah, E., Yu, J., Deck, M., Lyster, K., Kawchuk, J., Turnquist, A., & Thoma, B. (2021). Immersive video modeling versus traditional video modeling for teaching central venous catheter insertion to medical residents. Cureus, 13(3), 1-22.


About the Author.

Rick Kubina

Dr. Rick Kubina, BCBA-D
CentralReach Director of Research

Richard M. Kubina Jr., Ph.D., BCBA-D is a Professor of Special Education at The Pennsylvania State University and teaches courses on methods for teaching reading, behavior analysis, and experimental design. Rick graduated from Youngstown State University where he had Steve Graf as an advisor and then received a Masters and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University under John Cooper.

Rick conducts wide-ranging research in the area of Applied Behavior Analysis and Precision Teaching. He also served as the editor of the Journal of Precision Teaching and Celeration. He has dedicated his professional career to helping behavior change agents such as teachers, behavior analysts, and other helping professionals efficiently change behavior through effective teaching and measurement such as Precision Teaching. Rick co-founded a software called Chartlytics. Chartlytics merged with CentralReach where Rick has assumed the role of Director of Research.

At CentralReach, Rick explores how technology can accelerate superior outcomes for all those seeking to engender professional and personal success.

Read more of Dr. Kubina’s publications.

About CentralReach

CentralReach is the leading provider of Autism and IDD Care Software, providing the only complete, end-to-end software and services platform that helps children and adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) - and those who serve them - unlock potential, achieve better outcomes, and live more independent lives. With its roots in Applied Behavior Analysis, the company is revolutionizing how the lifelong journey of autism and IDD care is enabled at home, school, and work with powerful and intuitive solutions purpose-built for each care setting.


Trusted by more than 175,000 professionals globally, CentralReach is committed to ongoing product advancement, market-leading industry expertise, world-class client satisfaction, and support of the autism and IDD community to propel autism and IDD care into a new era of excellence. For more information, please visit or follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook.


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