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Masters of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certification

Errorless Training - Topic 49

What is it?

Errorless training involves manipulating the relevant and irrelevant task stimuli so that few or no errors occur while a target response is being taught (Snell, & Brown, 2011). Mueller, Palkovik, and Maynard (2007) listed errorless teaching procedures as the following: stimulus fading, stimulus shaping, response prevention, delayed prompting, superimposition with stimulus fading, and superimposition with stimulus shaping. These procedures refer to a variety of discrimination learning techniques that aim to minimize incorrect responding (Mueller et al., 2007). All of them involve two specific rules. First, the initial responding is easy and second, a students’ progress toward to the target behavior is gradual (Lancioni, & Smeets, 1986).

Why is it important?

In contrast to trial-and-error training, errorless training does not allow the student to make considerable errors while learning the target behavior. Research has shown that it is effective in establishing discrimination. Students with severe disabilities who have difficulty in making simple and conditional discriminations can benefit from errorless training (Graff & Green, 2004).


Graff, R. B., & Green, G. (2004). Two methods for teaching simple visual discriminations to learners

with severe disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 25, 295-307.

Mueller, M. M., Palkovik, C. M., & Maynard, C. S. (2007). Errorless learning: review and practical

application for teaching children with pervasive developmental disorders. Psychology in the

Schools, 44, 7, 691-700.

Lancioni, G.E., & Smeets, P.M. (1986) Procedures and parameters of errorless discrimination

training with developmentally impaired individuals. In N.R. Ellis & N. W. Bray (Eds.)

International Review of Research in Mental Retardation, 135-164. New York: Academic Press.

Snell, M. E., & Brown, F. (2011) Instruction of Students with Severe Disabilities (7th ed.) Upper

Saddle River, New Jersey: Merill/Pearson.

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