Errorless Learning

  • Situation

    My students often imitate and I want to avoid reinforcing “wrong” or poor skills and behaviors. How can I teach and reinforce positive skills and behaviors?

  • Summary

    Try errorless learning techniques. While it is most often utilized in 1:1 instructional setting, it can be utilized within classroom activities.

  • Definition

    Errorless Learning is an instructional strategy that ensures high levels of correct responding. This prevents any chance for incorrect responses and thus decreases the “learning” of errors. The prompt hierarchy in Errorless Learning starts with the “most” prompting and is shaped to the “least” amount of prompting/independence.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 0-2, 3-5, 6-10, 11-13, 14-17, 18+
    • Planning Effort: Moderate
    • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Pre-requisites

    The Instructor should have prior knowledge of discrete trial training procedures and a fundamental knowledge of behavioral principles.

  • Process

    1. Establish student motivator/ positive reinforcer.

    2. Identify desired skill/behavior. (Example: Student will touch an apple when asked to do so)

    3. Identify prompts required that will ensure success. Develop prompt hierarchy most-to-least.

    4. Provide instruction that is immediately followed by a prompted correct response.

    5. If the student correctly responds: reinforce immediately. Then after a specified number (i.e. 3 consecutive trials), systematically fade/shape back your prompts.

    6. If the student gives an incorrect response: Withhold reinforcement and repeat the instruction trial with increased prompts to ensure a correct response; then reinforce the response.


      Consultant/Author: Rachel Schwartz, PhD, BCBA-D

  • Documents and Related Resources



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