Video Modeling

Let’s say your friend’s wedding was coming up and you wanted to wear a tie. If you don’t wear a tie on a regular basis, you may need some help remembering how to complete each step. What is one way you could get some help? Perhaps you would call your dad or ask a friend. Or you could pull up You Tube and watch a video. If this is the solution you choose, you have just utilized video modeling!

Video modeling (VM) is essentially watching a desired behavior and then imitating that behavior. VM promotes skill acquisition. A video used for VM can be any length; however, the video must show the entire skill.

What does the research say about VM? VM is considered evidence based practice, which means, the research suggests it works! There are several published research articles using video modeling to teach self-care tasks, social skills, academic skills and more. VM has also been proven to be a highly effective means of teaching children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“In a meta-analysis of 23 studies published between 1987 and 2005, Bellini and Akullian (2007) concluded that “video modeling is an effective intervention strategy for addressing skills important to self-determination for students with ASD, including behavioral functioning, social-communication skills and functional skills.  As would be expected according to Bandura’s theory of modeling, students performed best when they werehighly motivated and attentive because they enjoyed watching the videos.”

Bellini, S., & Akullian, J.

Exceptional Children, 73, 261-284, 2007

Examples of skills that might be taught using video modeling:

  • Self care: tying shoes, brushing teeth, pouring milk, making a pizza, making a pony tail with a rubber band

  • Social skills: walking in a line, waiting in a lobby, taking turns

  • Academic skills: writing a name

  • Exercise program: how to complete each exercise

One word of caution, when working with children, make sure the video does not show any behaviors that you do not want to be imitated.

There are several types of video modeling including basic video modeling, video self-modeling, point-of-view video modeling, and video prompting. Basic modeling involves recording either an adult or a peer modeling the targeted skill. The child watches this video at a later time. Video self-modeling records the child displaying the targeted skill. The child then watches themselves in the video at a later time. The point-of-view video modeling shows a video recorded from the perspective of the child.  Video prompting is used when teaching a step by step skill. It is recorded by breaking the targeted skill into steps and pausing after steps to give the child an opportunity to practice each step. Many studies have found great success when combining models.

Benefits of video modeling include:

  • Ease of use. Everyone has a camera at their finger tips now!

  • Fun and engaging which promotes a child’s desire to interact with the video.

  • Children learn in a naturalistic environment.

  • Repetition of a video does not require costly therapy.

  • Studies show that prompting and reinforcement are not necessary to learn from a video.

  • There is a rapid acceleration of skills.

  • Ability to teach an endless array of skills, behaviors, language, etc.

  • Opportunity to teach multiple skills within one video scenario.

  • Capitalizes on a teaching method infrequently used in traditional settings.

  • VM can be successfully used to teach social-communication skills, functional skills, and behavioral functioning.

  • Children identify with peers and models similar to them, and are therefore engaged when watching them.

Give it a try and see how easy it is!


Amy Gibbs, OTR, MOT, CEIM
Pediatric Occupational Therapist
Certified Educator of Infant Massage
Feeding Program Therapist



  • Essays, UK. (November 2013). The different types of video modeling. Retrieved from