Reference: Teaching Sequence (Discrete Trial) Used In Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)

By Autism Spectrum Directory

ABA Teaching Sequence 

(Discrete Trial Training)


Step 1 Step 2 (optional) Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 (optional)
Specific instruction, cue or verbal command for a skill or task that you want the person to respond to. Hint or prompt that is given to help the person respond correctly. This hint/prompt is left out if the initial response is rapid and correct. Opportunity for the Person to respond and the resulting behaviour or response from the person. The person shows that they have or have not understood the instruction, cue or verbal command. 

Give a reward or treat for the correct response.

For incorrect response, repeat the instruction and give a hint or prompt if needed.

A pause of time between the repetitions of the sequence ‘trials’.
ABA Terms Antecedents Behavior Consequences
discriminative stimulus prompting stimulus response a reinforcer , reinforcing stimulus, receptive object labeling inter trial interval
Data Analysis Number and type of trials Number and ratio of prompts Number and ratio of correct responses What skill the person is able to do, number and types of rewards Length of time between repeating trials

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In ABA, there is teaching and testing of the information that needs to be learned but there is a shorter timeframe for the process to occur because instead of teaching a broad complex concept with many details, the information is broken down into specific parts of information that are taught individually at first but then later on connected together. The information (like how to name an object, or how to ask for an object) is taught either verbally, by pictures or by sign language. The person teaching looks for a correct response to the instruction, if a correct response happens, the student is rewarded right away. If an incorrect response happens then the person teaching can either give the answer, known as a prompt and then they would repeat the instruction again and look for the student to give the answer on their own without having to be prompted with the answer. When the student responds correctly and without a prompt they receive a reward. Rewards can be verbal like “Good answer!” or they can be physical like a sticker or a high five. Each session is divided into sequences of instruction called discrete trials and there are intermittent breaks between these trials. The discrete trials do not have a specified length of time or time limit to allow for a natural conclusion when the person teaching thinks the student is losing focus. Throughout this process data is collected and information is recorded such as how many times did the person teaching have to give the instruction before the student gave the correct response, how long did it take the student to give the correct response, how many prompts did person teaching have to give the student and so on. This collected data is then analyzed and used to monitor and adjust what is being taught to the student so that the teaching method can be adjusted and can be done in a way that is effective for the needs of the student.

Copyright Article by Autism Spectrum Directory, All Rights Reserved.

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One Response to “Reference: Teaching Sequence (Discrete Trial) Used In Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)”
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