Introduction to Video Modelling


What is it?

Students view a video recording of a model engaging in a desired behaviour and are then prompted to imitate the model and subsequently engage in the target behaviour. A video model (VM) can be used as an antecedent strategy (used prior to a target behaviour) to promote desired behaviour for specific skills in different settings.

How do you use it?

  1. Identify the specific purpose of the VM and the target behaviour(s) that it will serve to teach. Targeting 1-2 behaviours is sufficient.
  2. Identify the appropriate routines to teach the target skill(s). Ensure the context is relatable to the child.
  3. Prepare the script(s) that will be used in the VM. The entire VM may not be scripted but it is important to have a good idea of what the actors will say and do. Create 2 – 3 scripts for the same activity to promote generalization.
  4. Find the appropriate actors and location. The age and gender of the actor(s) does not have to match the student’s profile. It is simply necessary that the actor performs the desired skill in the desired location without error.
  5. Rehearse and film. The actors practice the sequence to ensure they are comfortable. Then, the sequence is filmed.
  6. The student watches the video model, ideally once per day at least 15 – 60 minutes prior to the target activity.
  7. What are the effects? Do the modeled behaviours occur in the target activity? If no, revise and add an additional component if necessary.


  1. Initiating conversation.
  2. Asking a peer to play during recess.
  3. Script 1: asking to join play in the sandbox during outdoor recess. Script 2: asking to join play with blocks during indoor recess. Wording is slightly different for each script to avoid rote memorization and “robotic” use of the skill.
  4. Resource teacher and EA will perform the video model.
  5. Resource Teacher and EA practice the video model. Then, they are filmed.
  6. The student watches the video model every morning before recess.
  7. The student is reinforced for initiating play and provided prompting and corrective feedback when not engaging in the target behaviour.

Why do you use it?

  • Most importantly, video modelling is an evidence-based practice. Research supports the use of this strategy to teach a variety of skills in home, school and community settings.
  • Electronic devices are readily available at schools. As such, creating VMs is quick, easy, and cost-effective.
  • Many students with ASD and other disabilities enjoy watching videos. They are often motivated to engage with this strategy and more inclined to model what they see.

When do you use it?

  • Video Modelling is appropriate for teaching a variety of skills including social skills, play skills, leisure skills, functional living skills and to explicitly teach what appropriate behaviour looks like in specific settings.

Related Resources:


Bellini, S. & Akullian, J. (2007). A meta-analysis of video modeling and video self-modeling interventions for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Exceptional Children, 73(3), 264 – 287.

Mirenda, P. (2011). Video modeling: what, why, how and examples [Class handout]. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia.