Behavioral Skills Training for Staff Training
In the current global world, organizations rely on highly qualified staff with up to date skills to help beat competition. It is notable that even after hiring top talents, an organization has to continuously train its staff to prevent them from becoming obsolete. It is also notable that organizations need to choose the most appropriate training approaches that would ensure that what is learned during the training sessions is translated into the job. Organizations should also use approaches that would ensure continuous application of the newly acquired skills rather than having the learned skills ignored few months after the training. One of the best evidence training methods is behavioral skills training.
According to this approach, Gianoumis and Sturmey (2012) argue that training is done through a combination of behavioral techniques namely instructions, feedback, modeling, and rehearsal. The aim of the approach is to promote skill proficiency making it applicable for different people including teachers, children, and parents. Through the used techniques, Homlitas, Rosales and Candel, (2014) assert that behavioral skills training, usually abbreviated as BST is very effective in training staff and having them transfer the learned knowledge to resolve any relevant challenges. For instance, when used on children with mental disorders, this approach helps with coping mechanisms thus making their lives bearable (Seiverling, Williams, Sturmey & Hart, 2012). This makes the BST approach an important topic to cover because of its effectiveness in extending the learned skills to real life.
This paper will therefore not only discuss how BST helps in training but also address a number of questions. The first question is; how does BST approach ensure that the learned is transferred to the workplace? Secondly, how does the approach ensure that learners learn only what is relevant to their work and what effect does this have on long-term training benefits?
The study by Parsons and Rollyson (2013) is a single subject design explaining the different between training without and with BST approach. The selected 10 practitioners were trained in a human service training using their traditional training approaches and later using the BST and results from the two programs compared. Based on the collected and analyzed data, the researchers concluded that all participants demonstrated better training results after using the BST approach. It was also reported that the trained practitioners took the learned skills to their workplace since they demonstrated better application of BST when training other staff members in the regular work setting. Since the study compared training assessment before and after implementation of the BST approach, I feel that the study was done well. In addition, the trained practitioners were followed to their places of work where they were seen training other staff using the same approach. This supports the conclusion that BST is an effective training program with long-lasting benefits.
In their study, LaBrot, Radley, Dart, Moore and Cavell (2017) also conducted a single subject design as they carried out their study in phases. The study had two experiments. In the first experiment, eight parents were assigned randomly to one of the behavioral skills training sequences with each sequence being different in manner in which components of the training was introduced. From this experiment, it was concluded that feedback was very important in improving training benefits. In the second experiment, which was to determine the importance of feedback, the feedback was introduced only after other components of the BST approach were implemented. From this experiment, it was reported that integrity was high with introduction of feedback. The overall conclusion was that feedback is very important in the BST approach. Since the study was done in phases, I think that it was done well. It is also arguable that since the two experiments showed the same findings, the conclusion is justifiable.
Gunn, Sellers and Lignugaris (2017) also carried out a single subject design as they examined the difference in functioning by the study participant after using BST approach. The study used a young adult who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder who was enrolled in the early childhood special education program. Since this disorder impairs executive functioning and social pragmatics, the aim was to help the student address his deficits. By using immediate feedback, it was reported that the subject improved in all dependent variables (visual scanning, engagement with preschool age children, and verbal interactions). The researchers concluded that immediate feedback is very important in helping psychologically impaired children to identify their weaknesses and address them. Since the study included only one subject, I do not think that it was conducted well. Similarly, the findings might only have been reported because of other external factors since only one student was studied.
The single subject design study by Galindo, Candeias, Pires, Gracio and Stuck (2018) was also conducted on children in schools in Portugal with failure difficulties. The study was in form of two empirical studies. The first study was to come up with behavioral diagnostic as well as training approached that would help in teaching lacking skills. The main instrument involved training programs applied in three areas namely basic behavior, social behavior, and academic behavior. Through pre-test and post-test training, it was reported that there was improved in all tested behaviors. To ensure efficacy of the findings in the first study, the second study was conducted in form of a quasi-experimental design in which it was revealed that there was few performance changes before the training but increased positive behavior change after BST. The researchers therefore concluded that BST helps in dealing with learning difficulties for students thus showing its effectiveness in improving academic performance. Since the study was done in two phases and compared results before and after BST, I think that it was done well. The findings also support the conclusion as the researchers went ahead to prove the efficacy of findings from the first study by conducting a second study.
The single subject study design by Parsons and Rollyson (2012) was aimed at determining the effectiveness of BST in teaching staff in a human service setting. With six teachers and one assistant teacher, the researchers found out the trainers used the learned skills in their routine job duties and this helped in ensuring competent performance. This proved that BST helps in ensuring effectiveness of the training program. Since this study was conducted and later participants allowed to try the learned knowledge in their routine jobs, I feel that it was conducted well. In addition, the findings support the conclusion since date was collected and analyzed before, during, and after the training.
From the reviewed articles, one of the most important things is that feedback is very crucial in improving training programs. It was revealed that feedback helps in identifying one’s weaknesses and thus improving them and being better in actual life (Gunn, Sellers & Lignugaris, 2017). This ensures that learners are informed of their mistakes during the training so that they are better when they get back to the practice field. Secondly, BST is proved to be an effective way of training. This is because from all the studies, it was reported that all the participants improved in the trained parameters. When trained to perform better as a trainer, the followed practitioners were proved as effective in training others (Parsons & Rollyson, 2013). Lastly, it was revealed that BST is an evidence-based training approach because of its long-lasting benefits. People who are trained using this approach were reported to implement the learned knowledge in the routine jobs and this proved that the training program was successful (Parsons & Rollyson, 2012).
Based on findings from the reviewed articles, it is a recommendation that the training program is relevant to one’s assignments so that it the trained person applies the learned knowledge in his field of work (Galindo, et al., 2018). It is also recommended that practitioners conduct long studies by comparing results before and after the training and if possible following trainees to their places of work. This would help in determining whether the training program was effective in that it helps the trainee when carrying out his routine tasks. Practitioners should also clearly identify the aspects that they need trainees to improve on (Gunn, Sellers & Lignugaris, 2017). This is because having so many expectations from the trainees might result to arguments that the program was a failure while in reality it was not.
Even though the analyzed studies showed that BST is an evidence-based and effective training approach, a further study should be conducted with many participants so that it is possible to generalize the results. This is based on the limitation on the study by Galindo, et al., (2018) in which only a single participant was involved. In addition, a randomized controlled trial should be conducted to compare BST with other training programs in order to guide practitioners better. Nevertheless, the studies agreed that BST is effective in improving training outcomes.
Galindo, E., Candeias, A. A., Pires, H. S., Gracio, L., & Stuck, M. (2018). Behavioral skills training in Portuguese children with school failure problems. Frontiers in Psychology, 2(9), 23-27.
Gianoumis, S., & Sturmey P. (2012). Generalization procedures in training interventionists for individuals with developmental disabilities. Behavior Modification, 36(5), 619-629.
Gunn, S. L., Sellers, T. P., & Lignugaris, B. (2017). Application of coaching and behavioral skills training during a preschool practicum with a college student with autism spectrum disorder. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 16(4), 11-19.
Homlitas, C., Rosales, R., & Candel, L. (2014). A further evaluation of behavior skills training for implementation of the picture exchange communication system. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 47(1), 1-6.
LaBrot, Z. C., Radley, K. C., Dart, E., Moore, J., & Cavell, H. J. (2017). A component analysis of behavioral skills training for effective instruction delivery. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 2(3), 1-20.
Parsons, M. B., & Rollyson, J. H. (2012). Evidence-based staff training: A guide for practitioners. Behavioral Analysis Practice, 5(2), 2-11.
Parsons, M. B., & Rollyson, J. H. (2013). Teaching practitioners to conduct behavioral skills training: A pyramidal approach for training multiple human service staff. Behavioral Analysis Practice, 6(2), 4-16.
Seiverling, L., Williams, K., Sturmey, P., & Hart, S., (2012) Effects of behavioral skills training on parental treatment of children’s food selectivity. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45(1), 197-203.