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Teacher training
Web-based instruction
Children at-risk
Functional behavioral assessment
Behavioral intervention
Issue Date: 
Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore
Dutt, A., Poon, K., & Rahul Nair. (2020). An experimental evaluation on the effectiveness of a web based training program in functional behavioral assessment and interventions with special education schools in Singapore (Report No. OER 18/14 AD). National Institute of Education (Singapore), Office of Education Research.
Over the last several decades, behavioral methods have proven to be most effective in reducing challenging behaviors (Murphy et al. 2005). Developed on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA), behavioral methods such as functional behavior assessments (FBA) and behavioral interventions, have been established as “best practice” to address a student’s challenging behavior (Alberto & Troutman, 2013; Cooper, Heron & Heward, 2007). Additionally, in the international context, research findings within the behavioral literature seem to suggest a critical training need in FBA and behavior intervention skills among school personnel who work with children with disabilities, especially those with challenging behaviors. Similar findings were documented within the local context. In an effort to evaluate competencies and training needs in FBA and behavioral interventions in Singapore, Dutt, Chen, and Nair (2018) conducted an exploratory study that investigated skills and training needs reported by 378 special educators and 38 teaching assistants in FBA and behavioral interventions across seven SPED schools in Singapore. This study was funded by the Office of Educational Research, NIE (SUG 18/11 AD). Results indicated a high need for training among special educators and teaching assistants in a) effective behavioral intervention strategies to manage severe challenging behaviors (e.g., differential reinforcement procedures), b) behavior assessment procedures to identify the function of challenging behaviors (e.g., direct and indirect measures used in an FBA), and (c) skill training programs to teach functional skills to replace challenging behaviors (e.g., use of various graduated prompting procedures). Additionally, findings revealed that training needs in FBA and behavioral interventions were higher for teaching assistants than special educators. Being the first study of its kind in Singapore to explore training needs of SPED school personnel in this area of behavior supports, the results of this study provides insightful evidence to inform the creation of professional development programs in FBA and behavioral interventions, customized to the diverse training needs of various groups of school personnel.

Given the large numbers of school personnel that could benefit from training in function based behavior assessments and interventions, web-based training platforms could be employed to reach a larger audience. With current advances in modern technology and greater accessibility, online and technology-mediated learning have become a plausible and sustainable means of providing professional development opportunities, especially when faced with financial, geographical limitations and the lack of trainers/experts to provide on-site support (Daytner, Robinson, Schneider, & Johanson, 2009; Stone-MacDonald & Douglass, 2015; Yang, Tzuo, & Komara, 2011). Online instruction refers to the delivery of training with the use of communication technology that can be accessed by teacher(s) on a device at any place, possibly at any time, with internet (Allen, Jones, Davies, Lowe, & Jarman, 2008). Communication and learning could happen in real time (e.g., through a videoconference), or asynchronously (e.g., through emails, forums). Thus, training can be continuous and accessible at all times and it need not always depend on the trainers’ availability (Allen et al., 2008).
Note: Restricted to NIE Staff.
Project number: 
OER 18/14 AD
Grant ID: 
Education Research Funding Programme (ERFP)
Funding Agency: 
Ministry of Education, Singapore
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