• Integrating Behavioral Skills Training within an E-Learning Modality to Train Volunteers Working with Neurodiverse Populations

      Young, Kirsten; Center for Applied Disability Studies
      People supporting neurodiverse populations (often volunteers) must acquire adequate training on instructional strategies to ensure the safety of the people they support and those around them. While behavioral skills training (BST) is an empirically validated training framework, it has some resource constraints such as requiring an experienced trainer. Adapting a BST framework for an interactive mobile application (app) to train volunteers may increase their ability to accurately implement a set of pre-determined target behaviours with fewer resources needed. This evaluation included two studies. In Study 1 the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with volunteers with experience in an adaptive physical activity program to inform app training content. Experienced volunteers indicated three skills they wanted to receive training on to support neurodiverse people (visual schedules, modeling, and high-probability instructional sequence). In Study 2 a multiple probe design across behaviours was used to assess the efficacy of the app for teaching the three target skills to two novel volunteers. Direct observations were conducted virtually to determine the efficacy of the app for increasing volunteers’ performance accuracy on the pre-determined skills. Both participants demonstrated increased performance accuracy of each target skill following relatively brief interaction with the app. They also reported that they found the app to be acceptable and showed improvement on pre-and post- quizzes after using the app. These results suggest preliminary evidence of the efficacy and acceptability of providing training via an interactive technological platform (using BST) for volunteers working with neurodiverse populations.