While seminal studies within the field of Applied Behavior Analysis have established that a standardized caregiver training program is a crucial component of highly effective ABA programs, what does the research say about the importance of incorporating eLearning components? As it turns out, current research says quite a lot.
In 2012, a study on the effects of eLearning shows that, on average, caregivers scored 90% on a test assessing their knowledge of ABA after completing an eLearning program while caregivers who did not complete an eLearning program scored 64% (Jang et al., 2012). That is a 34% increase in caregivers’ knowledge of ABA. Caregivers who received eLearning are likely to be more informed and equipped to implement the necessary interventions which can assist them in better supporting their child’s ability to generalize and retain skills learned in therapy.
Additionally, a 2015 review of research within the field of ABA regarding eLearning showed that eLearning is not only effective but also has financial benefits for both caregivers and institutions providing social services (Shminan et al., 2015).
It is apparent that eLearning can supplement traditional, in-person parent training in other important ways. Below are some additional benefits of eLearning.
1. Increased access to training
Caregivers who reside in rural areas or areas with few ABA providers can receive information and trainings immediately on the fundamental principles of ABA and tools to successfully execute programs at home. eLearning modules can be viewed anywhere that internet is available thus reducing commute time and the stress and expenses that are associated.
2. Increased cost effectiveness
eLearning significantly reduces travel time for the caregiver or the clinician which means less time spent on the road and more time learning. Additionally, in contrast to in-person training, eLearning does not require clinicians to take time out of their day or on weekends to provide the training which increases the time they have available to work with clients.
3. Maximize individualization to caregiver and client needs and pace
Since every child has different needs, caregiver training should be individualized to be appropriate for the perceived deficits of the child. Additionally, caregivers move through training programs at varying speeds depending on their availability and preferred pace. eLearning is not only available 24/7, caregivers also have the option to review what they’ve learned at their convenience and providers can tailor modules to be relevant to the caregiver’s child.
4. Equip caregivers on the waitlist with practical tools to assist child immediately
Caregivers on the waitlist can greatly benefit from having eLearning options because they can begin learning about evidence-based treatments and gain a rudimentary understanding of the basics of ABA interventions. With a clinician’s support, caregiver on the waitlist may be able to more effectively manage their child’s behaviors at home while waiting for services to begin.
Some eLearning programs to explore are listed below.
Free: California Autism Professional Training and Information Network
Inexpensive learning options can be found here:
If you know of others, please let us know so we can add it to our list!
Shminan, A. S., Fauzan, N., & Aren, M. (2015, November). The intensity of the research activities on e learning for care givers of autistic children. In 2015 International Conference on Information Technology Systems and Innovation (ICITSI) (pp. 1-7). IEEE.
Jang, J., Dixon, D. R., Tarbox, J., Granpeesheh, D., Kornack, J., & de Nocker, Y. (2012). Randomized trial of an eLearning program for training family members of children with autism in the principles and procedures of applied behavior analysis. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 6(2), 852-856.