Psychology Sunday

Creating Positive Learning Experiences through Errorless Learning

For many individuals with complex conditions, the learning environment can be stressful, especially for those who engage in specific behaviors in order to escape or avoid tasks and demands. At The Center for Discovery®, errorless learning is a fundamental instructional strategy that can be implemented with individuals of all abilities, anywhere, and at any time. Errorless learning is used to teach both academic and functional skills to prevent individuals from making mistakes.

This method includes giving an initial instruction and immediately providing a prompt to the correct answer.  For example; in the classroom you give the instruction to “which block is blue?” then, immediately point to the blue block – or – in the garden after asking an individual use the wheelbarrow, you immediately begin to physically help them push the wheelbarrow to the desired location. Over time, prompting can be gradually reduced in amount and intensity until the individual can respond independently.

Errorless learning is a great approach when someone is learning a new skill, and is also effective when someone is having a tough day. Rather than “trial and error,” errorless learning allows the individual to be successful right away in that it creates a positive learning experience.  This strategy provides an individual with as much help as necessary to respond correctly, reducing the practice of the incorrect response and decreasing frustration for everyone.

Contributed by Katie Skinner, B.S., Behavior Specialist at The Center for Discovery®.

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