Theses Doctoral

Descriptive and Experimental Analyses of In-person and Remote Instruction

Peysin, Joseph

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many schools were forced to interrupt in-person delivery of educational services and switched to delivery of instruction in a remote setting. The educational impacts of school closures and remote instructional delivery have become a concern for the impact on an entire generation of students. Although delivery of behavioral interventions remotely is a topic that has been reported on in behavior analytic literature for over 15 years before this pandemic, few studies directly compared delivery of equivalent services across in-person and remote settings. Further, no studies included in recent literature reviews included comparative analyses between acquisition of novel instructional objectives across in-person and remote settings. Additionally, no studies are reported using verbal behavior developmental measures to identify potential prerequisites for benefitting from remote instruction. I therefore present a series of experiments to investigate the relative effectiveness of in-person and remote instruction as well as comparing outcomes for students grouped by level of verbal behavior development.

In Experiment I, I conducted a carefully controlled experiment to compare rate of learning, rate of instructional presentation, and maintenance of objectives mastered across in-person and remote settings. I used a reversal design across 6 preschool aged participants with disabilities. The results indicate that some participants reliably mastered objectives and completed instruction faster in-person for 3 of 6 participants while the results for the other 3 participants were mixed. Overall, participants mastered objectives and completed instruction faster in-person in approximately half of the comparisons while showing no difference or learning faster remotely in the remaining comparisons. No consistent difference was shown in 14 and 21-day follow up maintenance measures. No consistent difference in the outcomes of students who demonstrated Naming compared to those who did not demonstrate any Naming.

In Experiment II, I extend the findings of the previous experiments by comparing system wide educational outcomes of a hybrid in-person and remote educational model to the outcomes of the same model in a pure in-person setting in terms of fidelity of instruction, educational outcomes, and a cost analysis to determine how much the transition to remote provision of instruction costs stakeholders. Further, I compared educational outcomes across students categorized by level of verbal behavior development. The results indicate that the total number of learning opportunities and objectives mastered are significantly higher during a fully in-person model when compared to a hybrid educational model containing a remote instructional component. Further, when comparing educational outcomes across groups of students categorized by level of verbal behavior development, the results indicate that the rate of learning and objectives masted are significantly increased once students demonstrate joining of the listener and speaker repertoires as indicated by the presence of the Naming capability. The implication of the results are discussed in terms of feasibility of remote instruction as an alternative to in-person instruction as well as the importance of identifying and establishing the Naming capability for students to best benefit from remote instruction.Keywords: Telehealth, COVID-19, remote instruction, virtual instruction, verbal behavior development


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Behavior Analysis
Thesis Advisors
Fienup, Daniel
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 21, 2021