Video Modelling for visual learners

photoVideo Modelling is an observational learning tool in which desired behaviours are learned by watching a video demonstration and then imitating the behaviour of the model.

Video modelling has been used successfully with children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder to teach many new skills, including appropriate social skills. But this visual instruction can be used with people of a range of ages and abilities who benefit from information being presented visually, including those with intellectual disability, acquired disabilities and memory difficulties to promote independent functioning, positive behaviour or to improve social or communication skills.

Video modelling can either be:

  • of others, for example a peer, performing the desirable task;
  • of the person themselves (video self monitoring);
  • or from the point of view of the person (as if being filmed by the person).

When developing a video modelling intervention, you need to:

  1. Identify the skill you want to focus on: Prioritise and define the target skill and collect baseline data. Focus on one skill per video but it helps to have more than one video developed to reflect different settings, models and scripts as it assists with skill generalisation.
  2. Produce the videos: Get input from the team and peers about the script and get permission from the family to develop the video. Reduce the background distractions in the video and model the behaviours slowly and clearly.
  3. Implement the intervention: Rehearse the video regularly, in the appropriate setting and before you want the behaviour to be exhibited. Then provide opportunities for practice. It also helps for the person to be able to independently view this as a way of rehearsing and generalising.

imageThe beauty of having a mobile device such as the iPad to do this means that we can now use the built-in camera to capture video so easily. But even better, we can use powerful video editing apps such as iMovie, to cut out the parts that you don’t want to model, add an audio narrative and soundtrack to create a professional looking and more importantly, engaging video modelling intervention that is motivating for the individual.

For more information check out the webinar, “Successfully using iPads to create video modelling interventions” as part of the Spectronics Online subscription where we guide you through using video editing apps such as iMovie, and creation apps such as Videolicious and Autismate to create engaging video modelling interventions easily and efficiently with an in-depth demonstration for you to view and learn the editing features of iMovie in more detail.


There is a fabulous online resource from Exceptional Children by Ganz, J. et. al. that can be found here.

There are also some great blog posts on video modelling and some alternatives for creating video modelling interventions using different platforms at the Systems of Support Blog by Jason Carroll and Jason Gibson.

Wikipedia also have some general information on Video Modelling.

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About Katie Lyon

Katie is a speech pathologist and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) consultant who has been working with young children and adults with complex communication needs for the past 13 years. She has had worked in various roles including Coordinator of the Non-electronic Communication Aid Scheme and Regional Communication Service in Victoria as part of the state-wide Communication Access Network. She has a keen interest in supporting families, teachers, direct support workers and therapists to access information about AAC and assistive technology through education and training. She currently works part-time with Spectronics and part-time with the Communication Resource Centre at Scope in Victoria.

5 Responses to Video Modelling for visual learners

  1. David Harraway says:

    Thanks Katie. I enjoyed your piece and the links you provide are awesome. This is such an interesting area and as you say, the tools we have now open up many exciting possibilities. Dave

    • Katie Lyon says:

      Thanks Dave! Glad you found it useful, there is certainly a current buzz around video modelling. If you find anything else in your travels that is useful please share!

  2. Melinda Ritsinias says:

    Hi Katie,

    I really enjoyed the Master class on Friday and have so much information to present to my school on staff development day, I can’t wait. I was just wanting to show them video modelling and how you can change a simple video into a social story through iMovie like you showed us at the Master class with taking turns video or the sniffing video. Could you please let me know where I can find a video to show them like you had at the class I will make one up but I would like to show them one that you can transfer into a video like the one you had in class of taking turns with your daughter. If you know of a link where I could click on to show them this type of video that would be great.
    thanks again for such a great conference
    Kind regards
    Melinda Ritsinias

    • Katie Lyon says:

      Hi Melinda, Thanks for such great feedback. We are glad you enjoyed the day. Whilst we are happy to share most of our resources, I’m sure you understand when we say that we are reluctant to share video footage that we create for fun on the day, or are of our family members. I have permission to use this footage but once we release it to others it is difficult to know what will happen to it. The beauty of the iPad is that you can create your own so easily using the video camera, and remember, that even if you can’t get a couple of people to role play something for the purposes of your meeting, then you can download a YouTube video and edit it using the Vdownload app we demonstrated. I often find that getting people to roleplay (even my colleagues) is fun to do and takes less than a minute. I hope this helps and apologies that I can’t share the footage in this instance. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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