It is crucial that teaching methods are conducted accurately when teaching children with autism spectrum disorder. This can be addressed by providing new teachers with ample opportunity to practice their teaching skills while receiving feedback from a supervisor. Unfortunately, due to lack of resources, this is not always possible. Advances in Virtual Reality and Virtual Human research are making technical solutions possible, where teachers can receive situational training in simulated environments with virtual students, virtual props and automated feedback. The aim of the present work was to apply this approach to the training of special education teachers that needed to master a teaching method called Discrete Trial Training (DTT), which is particularly well suited for teaching children with autism. The first phase of the project focused on supporting the method itself with constructive feedback and basic interaction with a virtual child. A study, based on in-depth single-subject design, with a group of real teacher trainees, indicates that the teachers were able to demonstrate basic DTT skills after experiencing teaching trials in a VR environment, indicating that this approach is viable.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgements We would like to thank Kamilla Rún Jóhannsdót-tir for her valuable contribution to the project when it was taking shape. We would also like to thank Ása Rún Ingimarsdóttir for her enthusiasm for the project and for providing access to real teachers in training. This research was supported by grant number 1646460091 from the Icelandic Student Innovation Fund.
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- Discrete trial training
- Teacher training
- Virtual reality
- Virtual student