UNIT9 Kaplan University ABA Organizational Behavior Management Assignment 2
The following course outcomes are assessed with the Unit 9 Assignment:
PS430-3: Design a program based on research methods and principles of Applied Behavior Analysis.
GEL-1.2: Demonstrate college-level communication through the composition of original materials in Standard English.
GEL-2.1: Demonstrate college-level communication through the composition of original materials in Standard American English.
GEL-6.6: Apply research to behavior analysis.
The work you have done during your internship at ACME has been recognized and now there are many agencies in your area looking for a comprehensive plan using behavior analytic principles and research methods. This is your chance to apply what you have learned about Organizational Behavior Management(OBM) to create an effective-evidence based intervention for an organization.
The following organization has requested the creation of a behavior analytic program to assist with some concerns:
Stars ABA provides clinic-based, ABA interventions for children with autism. Stars uses discrete trial training to teach children skills and appropriate replacement behaviors. Stars also creates systematic behavior intervention plans to decrease interfering behaviors. The following are some of the issues Stars has encountered:
Staff are not delivering reinforcers on a frequent basis when children are engaging in appropriate behavior.
Staff are providing a lot of attention and reacting emotionally when children engage in inappropriate behavior.
Many Stars’ staff arrive late for their scheduled shifts.
Stars has experienced a high turnover rate. They have had 3 of 15 staff leave in the last 6 months.
Your task is to create a plan for a program to address the issues that Stars is having with staff. You should create a plan detailing a behavior analytic process and solution for Stars’ concerns. Include a brief explanation of the research strategies used to support your ideas. Your paper should contain all of the following and should be separated into sections covering each step:
Conduct a preliminary assessment with Stars ABA personnel to identify the problems within the organization.
Describe the use of at least one tool you would use to gather specific information about the problems at Stars.
Identify the type of data utilized during this step.
Operationally define the problem(s) requiring intervention.
Discuss potential contingencies that may impact the staff behavior at Stars ABA.
Include a discussion of reinforcement and punishment.
Identify Program Question and Research Design
Select 1 program question for your intervention.
Select and describe the research design you will use to demonstrate the effectiveness of your program.
Discuss the strength and weakness of your selected research design and why it is the best choice for your selected intervention.
Select and Describe Your Intervention
Choose one of the following interventions and describe how you would implement one of the following:
Competency Based Staff Training
Reinforcement Plan for Staff
Your plan should be evidence-based and include a description of the following components:
Describe how the program will be implemented.
Discuss who will be responsible for implementing the program.
Identify the type of data that will be collected throughout the program.
Indicate specific behavior analytic measure, i.e., frequency, duration, percent correct, etc.
Describe ongoing documentation and data collection that will take place during the intervention.
Indicate how the data will be collected and what kind(s) of data sheets will be used? Will the data be graphed?
Create two SMART goals for the program.
Discuss how data will be evaluated, including:
Schedule of observation: how often will the behaviors be assessed?
What factors will be considered when evaluating the data?
How will the data be evaluated?
Discuss how you will use data to determine effectiveness of the intervention.
How will you conclude that your intervention is effective?
Describe the steps to be taken based on the effectiveness of the intervention.
Include a discussion of the variables that could impact the success of the intervention.
Your Assignment should follow APA formatting and citation style and include:
Main body of the evaluative paper should be 6–8 pages and double-spaced
Included APA headings that are: left aligned, bold face, and contain upper case and lower case letter for each section of your plan
At least three academic references (including your course text)
The essay should be written using standard paragraph structure and 12 point Times New Roman font.
The Writing Center has information on how to use APA formatting. You can access the Writing Center from the Academic Tools tab in any unit or with the following link: https://kucampus.kaplan.edu/Security/Login?ReturnUrl=%2fMyStudies%2fAcademicSupportCenter%2fWritingCenter%2fWritingReferenceLibrary%2fIndexNew.aspx Running head: EVIDENCE BASED STAFF TRAINING
Evidence-Based Staff Training
The evidence-based model suggested in here consists of both performance and
competency strategies, which includes the activities for the trainer and the trainee until desired
results are manifested. The model uses data to document that trainees acquire needed skills
(Parsons, Rollyson & Reid, 2012). Training staff using this model involves six significant
components: Description of the desirable skills, provision of a written description of the skill,
demonstration of the target skill, practicing the skill, provision of feedback and repetition of
steps 4 and 5 to achieve mastery.
In describing the desired skill, the trainer justifies the skill and specifies the desired
behavior to perform the skill. The trainer must define the target skill to complete this step. The
next component is the provision of a written description of the target skill. The trainer provides
each trainee with a written description of target behavior using a checklist. The trainer may
submit a written summary of the expected behavior of staff in different situations.
The third component is the demonstration of skill, which is completed using a process of
role-playing. This process is especially useful with two trainers such that one trainer takes the
role of staff and the other assumes the role of consumer (Redmon, Johnson & Mawhinney,
2001). It is helpful for the trainer to pause during role-playing and explain what is being done
and why it must be achieved. Skills can also be demonstrated using video models and picture
communication systems for influencing various skills.
After demonstrated the skill, the trainee is expected to practice the desired skill. The
trainer provides instructions where one can take the role of consumer and another demonstrates
EVIDENCE BASED STAFF TRAINING
the target skill. This component is commonly omitted in typical BST models but can be handy in
ensuring trainees acquire the target skill for effective performance.
The fifth component involves the provision of feedback to the trainer during practice. The
trainer observes the trainees and provides support and feedback (Morgan & Morgan, 2009).
Supportive feedback includes the provision of instruction about how to perform target skill and
to describe what the trainee performed. It is recommended to provide feedback after the
completion of role-play instead to interrupting role-play.
The last component of the evidence-based staff-training model is the repletion of
components five and four until the trainees acquire the target skill. The purpose of this
component is to ensure trainees have mastery of the desired skill. Staff training is considered
complete when al trainees can perfume desires skills efficiently and proficiently.
The proposed staff-training model is an improvement of common training efforts that
only focus on oral presentation. The components described in the model are necessary for the
sense that they provide an alternative option to the critical component of BST to staff training.
Typical BST components include instructions, rehearsal, modeling and feedback, which have
been noted for ineffectiveness.
EVIDENCE BASED STAFF TRAINING
Morgan, D. L., & Morgan, R. K. (2009). Interobserver agreement. In Single-case Research
Methods for the Behavioral and Health Sciences. [62–67} Thousand Oaks, California:
SAGE Publications, Inc.
Parsons, M. B., Rollyson, J. H., & Reid, D. H. (2012). Evidence-based staff training: A guide for
practitioners. Behavior analysis in practice, 5(2), 2-11.
Redmon, W., Johnson, M., Mawhinney, T. (2001). Handbook of organizational performance
behavior analysis and management. Routledge, 20130403. VitalBook file.
Evidence-Based Staff Training: A Guide for Practitioners
Marsha B. Parsons & Jeannia H. Rollyson
J. Iverson Riddle Center, Morganton, North Carolina
Dennis H. Reid
Carolina Behavior Analysis and Support Center
Behavior analysts in human service agencies are commonly expected to train
support staff as one of their job duties. Traditional staff training is usually
didactic in nature and generally has not proven particularly effective. We
describe an alternative, evidence-based approach for training performance
skills to human service staff. The description includes a specific means of
conducting a behavioral skills training session with a group of staff followed
by on-the-job training requirements. A brief case demonstration then illustrates application of the training approach and its apparent effectiveness
for training staff in two distinct skill sets: use of most-to-least prompting
within teaching procedures and use of manual signs. Practical issues associated with applying evidence-based behavioral training are presented with
a focus on providing training that is effective, efficient, and acceptable to
Keywords: behavioral skills training, evidence-based practices, most-to-least
prompting, staff training
ehavior analysts often share the job
duty of training support staff in
human service agencies to implement intervention plans for challenging
behavior (Macurik, O’Kane, Malanga,
& Reid, 2008) or teaching strategies
(Catania, Almeida, Liu-Constant, &
Reed, 2009; Rosales, Stone, & Rehfeldt,
2009) with consumers. In addition,
staff are often trained in general principles and practices of behavior analysis
(Lerman, Tetreault, Hovanetz, Strobel,
& Garro, 2008). Disseminating information about effective practices among
caregivers in this regard has become a
professionally expected responsibility of
behavior analysts (Lerman, 2009).
The importance of training human
service staff was recognized early in the
history of behavior analysis as it became
clear that making a large-scale impact on
consumers required effective training of
support staff (Frazier, 1972). Behavioral
researchers then began investigating
staff training procedures (see Miller &
Lewin, 1980; Reid & Whitman, 1983,
for reviews of the early research on staff
training). Researchers have continued to
EVIDENCE-BASED STAFF TRAINING
examine the effects of staff training strategies to allow for more effective and efficient use of behavioral procedures with
individuals with disabilities. Despite this
existing research, many staff in human
service agencies often do not acquire the
skills that the procedures are intended to
train (Casey & McWilliam, 2011; Clark,
Cushing, & Kennedy, 2004; Sturmey,
1998). Hence, if behavior analysts are
to successfully fulfill their staff-training
responsibilities, additional guidance on
best-practice implementation of staff
training strategies is warranted.
The purpose of this paper is to
describe an evidence-based protocol for
training human service staff. Although
this training technology has been discussed from several perspectives (e.g.,
Reid, O’Kane, & Macurik, 2011),
the focus here is on describing the
basic components of the training protocol for behavior analyst practitioners.
Suggestions are also provided for effectively implementing the protocol based
on our training experience. Following a
summary of the evidence-based training
protocol, a brief case demonstration is
presented to illustrate its application.
Practical issues often related to the
overall success of staff training are then
offered for consideration.
Before describing the evidencebased training protocol, it should be
noted that the focus of this training
model is on training performance skills.
Staff are trained to perform work duties
that they previously could not perform
prior to training. The model stands
in contrast to approaches that focus
primarily on enhancing knowledge or
verbal skills, which would allow them to
answer questions about the target skills.
Though knowledge enhancement is
clearly an important function of certain
training endeavors, the goal of this protocol is improved performance (Parsons
& Reid, 2012). The distinction between
training performance versus verbal skills
is important because of the different
outcomes expected as a function of the
training process and because different
training procedures are required. Early
behavioral research demonstrated that
staff training programs relying on verbalskill strategies (e.g., lectures, presentation
Behavior Analysis in Practice, 5(2), 2-11
of written and visual material) are effective for enhancing targeted knowledge, but often are ineffective for teaching trainees
to perform newly targeted job skills (Gardner, 1972). Thus,
programs that rely heavily on verbal-skill training approaches
typically prove ineffective in creating a meaningful impact on
the job performance of human service staff (Alavosius & SulzerAzaroff, 1990; Petscher & Bailey, 2006; Phillips, 1998).
A Protocol for Evidence-Based Staff Training
Evidence-based staff training consists of performance- and
competency-based strategies (Reid et al., 2003). The phrase performance-based refers to what the trainer and trainees do (i.e.,
actively perform the specific responses being trained) during the
training. The phrase competency-based refers to the practice
of continuing training until trainees competently demonstrate
the skills of concern (i.e., meet established mastery criteria).
Specifically, the training is data-based; observational data are
obtained to document that trainees demonstrate the target
skills at established proficiency criteria. More recently, this approach to staff training (i.e., instructions, modeling, practice,
and feedback until mastery is achieved) has been referred to
as behavioral skills training or BST (Miles & Wilder, 2009;
Nigro-Bruzzi & Sturmey, 2010; Sarokoff & Sturmey, 2004).
The procedures and literature described here are generally
consistent with the research and procedures described as BST,
though the specific procedural steps may vary slightly. A basic
protocol for conducting a BST session is presented in Table 1.
The protocol consists of six steps, each of which is described
in subsequent sections. This protocol is designed for training
staff using a group format; however, the same basic steps can be
used when training an individual staff member though some
variations may be needed for individual implementation such
as with behavioral coaching (Rodriguez, Loman, & Horner,
2009) and when all training occurs in-vivo or on the job (Miles
& Wilder, 2009).
Step 1: Describe the Target Skill
The first training step involves the trainer providing a
rationale for the importance of the skill being trained and a description of the behaviors required to perform the skill (Willner,
Braukmann, Kirigin, Fixsen, Phillips, & Wolf, 1977). This step
is generally referred to as instructions in the BST model. To
adequately complete this step, trainers must behaviorally define
the target skill using a tool such as a performance checklist of
necessary staff actions (Lattimore, Stephens, Favell, & Risley,
Step 2: Provide a Succinct Written Description of the Target Skill
Following a vocal description of the target skill, trainers
should provide each trainee with a written description of the
target behaviors that constitute the skill. The performance
checklist referred to in Step 1 often serves this function. The
trainer may also need to provide a written summary of precisely what staff should do in different situations (Macurik et
al., 2008), such as when being trained to implement a plan to
Table 1. Behavioral Skills Training Protocol for Conducting a
Training Session With a Group of Staff
Describe the target skill
Provide a succinct, written
description of the skill
Demonstrate the target skill
Require trainee practice of the
Provide feedback during practice
Repeat Steps 4 and 5 to mastery
reduce challenging behavior. The description should be succinct and focus on exactly what needs to be done to perform
the target skill.
Many trainers fail to provide a succinct, written description of the target skill (Reid, Parsons, & Green, 2012, Chapter
4). Instead of providing staff trainees with a written summary,
they are referred to a lengthier document (e.g., a formal behavior plan) available in a central location. Our experience
suggests that a number of staff typically will not access the plan
to review the information when needed. Documents such as
plans for challenging behavior frequently contain much more
information than what staff need to implement the plan (e.g.,
background consumer information, assessment processes used
to develop the plan), though the information is important for
Step 3: Demonstrate the Target Skill
Once trainees have heard and read a description of the actions to perform the target skill, the trainer should demonstrate
how to perform the skill. This step, referred to as modeling in
BST, can usually be readily accomplished by using a role-play
process (Adams, Tallon, & Rimell, 1980), and particularly
when two trainers are present. One trainer plays the role of a
staff member and the other trainer plays the role of a consumer
(if the target skill involves interacting with a consumer). It
is critical that role-play demonstrations be well-scripted and
rehearsed prior to the training session to ensure an accurate
and fluent demonstration of all key components of the target
skill. If a second trainer is not available, a trainee can assist in
the demonstration. In the latter case, the trainer must provide
detailed instructions to the trainee to ensure the trainee knows
exactly what should be done during the demonstration. We
have also found it helpful for trainer(s) to stop or “freeze” at
certain points and describe what is being done and why to help
EVIDENCE-BASED STAFF TRAINING
trainees attend to key actions being demonstrated. Alternatively,
video models have been effectively incorporated into BST as the
demonstration component for teaching staff various skills such
as conducting discrete-trial instruction (Catania et al., 2009;
Sarakoff & Sturmey, 2004) and use of picture communication
systems (Rosales et al., 2009).
Step 4: Require Trainee Practice of the Target Skill
After demonstration of the target skill, trainees rehearse
performing the skill in a role play similar to the trainer demonstration (Adams et al., 1980). Instructions are given to organize
trainees such that one can play the role of the consumer (again,
if relevant) and one can demonstrate the target skill while
other trainees observe. All trainees must practice performing
the target skill.
The trainee practice step, referred to as rehearsal in BST,
is frequently omitted during staff training (Reid et al., 2012,
Chapter 4). In many staff training programs, only vocal and
written descriptions of the target skill are provided, perhaps
supplemented with a demonstration. This omission likely
occurs because the practice component requires significant
time investment for each trainee to practice the skill. However,
practicing the skill is a critical feature for the success of BST
and should be required of each trainee to produce effective
performance (Nigro-Bruzzi & Sturmey, 2010; Rosales et al.,
Step 5: Provide Performance Feedback During Practice
The fifth step of the training protocol is for trainers to
provide feedback to the trainees as they practice performing the
target skill. Trainers should circulate among the trainees to observe their performance and provide individualized supportive
and corrective feedback (Parsons & Reid, 1995). Supportive
feedback entails describing to the trainee exactly what s/he
performed correctly and corrective feedback involves specifying what was not performed correctly. Corrective feedback also
involves providing instruction about exactly how to perform
any aspects of the target skill performed incorrectly in order to
facilitate proficient future performance of the skill. Generally
we recommend providing feedback following completion of a
given role play in contrast to interrupting an ongoing role-play
activity to provide feedback.
Observing trainees and providing feedback to each trainee
requires time and effort on the part of trainers. This is another
reason that it is often beneficial to have two trainers present,
and especially if the number of trainees exceeds four or five.
Providing individualized feedback is as critical to the training
process as the trainee practice component, and must involve
Step 6: Repeat Steps 4 and 5 to Mastery
correctly (Miles & Wilder, 2009) or perhaps a lower percentage but with identification of certain critical steps that must
be performed at 100% proficiency (Neef, Trachtenberg, Loeb,
& Sterner, 1991). This final step represents the essence of the
competency part of BST. A staff training session should not be
considered complete until each trainee performs the target skill
The group training protocol is designed to train staff at
one time in a situation that differs from the daily work situation. The format is commonly used in human service settings
where behavior analysts practice. However, because the training
involves a simulated situation (e.g., role plays, no consumers
present), the overall training process is not complete. The session must be followed by on-the-job training.
On-the-job, or in-vivo, training increases the likelihood
that performance of the target skill acquired during the training session generalizes to the usual work situation (Clark et al.,
2004; Smith, Parker, Taubman, & Lovaas, 1992). On-the-job
training involves trainers observing each trainee applying the
target skill in the regular work environment and providing
supportive and corrective feedback as described in Step 5 of the
training protocol. Observations and feedback should continue
until each trainee performs the target skill proficiently during
the typical work routine.
The on-the-job component is another aspect of the training process that can involve a substantial time investment by
trainers because they must go to each trainee’s worksite for
observation and feedback. In this regard, we have found that
the amount of time trainers will have to spend at trainee work
sites will be minimized if each trainee has previously demonstrated competence during role plays in the training session;
proficiency in demonstrating a target skill on the job often
parallels the level of proficiency demonstrated during previous
The on-the-job training component completes the training
process. However, it should also be emphasized that although
completion of training is often a necessary step to promote
proficient staff performance on the job, it is rarely a sufficient
step (Reid et al., 2012, Chapter 4). Newly acquired job skills
must be addressed from a performance management perspective
(Austin, 2000) to ensure they maintain, and particularly with
continued presentation of feedback by supervisors and related
personnel. Describing effective on-the-job performance management is beyond the scope of this paper; however, a number
of resources describe evidence-based approaches to managing
daily work performance of staff (e.g., Austin; Daniels, 1994;
Reid et al., 2012).
Case Demonstration of Evidence-Based Staff Training
The final step in a BST session is to repeat Steps 4 and 5
To illustrate how BST can be applied to train staff in a
until each trainee performs the target skill proficiently (Nigro- group format in a human service setting, the following case
Bruzzi & Sturmey, 2010). Trainers should establish a mastery demonstration is presented. The demonstration involved traincriterion, such as trainees performing 100% of the target steps ing two sets of skills deemed important by the staff supervisor.
EVIDENCE-BASED STAFF TRAINING
Setting and participants. The demonstration occurred during ongoing services at an education program for adults with
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