Using Video Modeling to Teach Daily Living Skills

Using Video Modeling to Teach Daily Living Skills

In the age of YouTube, TikTok, and other Social Media platforms, video modeling is at our fingertips. I recently ordered a new office chair from a popular online website and had some difficulty deciphering the over complicated instructions of putting the chair together. A quick Google search later, I found a step-by-step video showing how to assemble the chair. I watched, re-watched, and assembled my new chair without difficulty.

What is Video Modeling?

Video modeling is a teaching procedure in which a target skill or behavior is modeled through a video recording. The video is viewed and then the skill or behavior is imitated. For individuals who are visual learners, video modeling provides a visual representation that can be viewed as frequently as needed in any location. Many of us use video modeling in our daily lives without realizing. From workout videos to cooking shows, video models have been used to teach a variety of skills and activities.

Is Video Modeling Effective?

This winter, I decided to start baking bread. I found hundreds of recipes online and in books. Unfortunately, many of these recipes were written text. I find written step-by-step directions to be a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, I found a step-by-step video model that walked me through each step.  For me, video modeling was an effective way to learn how to make the perfect sourdough bread loaf. Video modeling is an effective teaching procedure for many individuals with a variety of needs. When looking at the research, video modeling has been shown to be an effective and evidenced-based intervention for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities (Bellini & Akullian, 2007; Park, Bouck, & Duenas, 2018).

What Skills Can be Taught Using Video Modeling?

Video modeling can be used to teach a variety of skills. These include daily living skills, communication skills, social skills, and vocational skills (Aldi et. al., 2016). Additionally, video modeling can be used to teach gross and fine motor skills. I have used video modeling to learn infamous dance moves as well as how to paint using watercolors. I have also used video modeling to teach skills. For many years, I was a teacher at a private school for individuals with developmental disabilities. I worked with a variety of students across ages and needs. Across students, I often used video modeling to teach daily living skills. Specifically, cooking skills. I used video modeling to teach making quesadillas, using a microwave, and cooking pasta.

I used video modeling to teach cooking skills for several reasons. First, video models could be used in the natural environment. Daily living skills should be taught in the natural environment. That means these skills need to be taught in the environment they are performed. For instance, brushing teeth should be taught in the bathroom in front of the sink, cooking should be taught in a kitchen. Second, the video models could be viewed repeatedly and at the rate of learning most beneficial to the student. Additionally, the video model could be used across students and individualized to the student’s needs. Finally, the video models also allowed for reduced prompting from staff. Students were directed to the video for prompting, which reduced the need for staff to be in close proximity of the student.

Daily Living Skills and Independence

According to Bennett & Dukes (2013), “Daily living skills are among the functional skills needed for success in current and future environments, and they consist of those activities needed in domestic, employment, and community settings that allow a person to be as independent as possible.” Daily living skills include: Dressing, cooking, eating and drinking, toileting, showering/bathing, personal grooming, cleaning, etc.

Daily living skills are an important component of independent living.  According to research, daily living skills are often not independently completed by individuals with developmental disabilities, even if they can perform these skills independently. This is due to several reasons. Parents have reported that daily living skills are challenging to teach. Teaching daily living skills takes time and patience, as many individuals benefit from repeated repetition of these skills. Additionally, parents report that these skills are often easier to complete for the individual. (Drahota et. al., 2011).

Daily Living Skills and Discrete Video Modeling

In a recent post, we discussed Discrete Video Modeling. Gemiini’s Learning Platform uses Discrete Video Modeling (DVM), which “uses isolation (cutting out the background), repetition, and generalization to communicate directly to the learning part of the brain.” Additionally, DVM takes larger concepts or skills and breaks them down into smaller steps. These smaller bits of information allow for more optimal learning for individuals.

Gemiini’s library includes a selection of other life skills videos. Videos include: Toileting, dressing for the weather, tying shoes, zipping clothing, crossing the street, sweeping, loading a dishwasher, and more.

Creating Customized Video Clips using Gemiini

Gemiini’s video library is continuing to grow and expand, however, personalized videos can often be more effective in teaching certain skills. Watching a video of a preferred person making a sandwich in the home kitchen can be more motivating for the individual to watch.  

Gemiini allows users to upload custom video clips. Video can be uploaded to Gemiini using a phone, tablet, or computer.  Gemiini recommends uploading clips entirely from your phone. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Use the web browser on your phone to log into Gemiini with the account you use to manage your child/student.
  2. Click the My Videos navigation button.
  3. Click the My Clips tab.
  4. Select the Upload New Clip button.
  5. Follow the prompts in the window that appears to upload a clip that you have already filmed, or to record and upload a new clip in a single step.

Once uploaded, personalized video clips must be approved by Gemiini. An email will be sent within two business days of the video being uploaded. Once approved, clips can be found in the “My Videos” tab on the website.

Please schedule a free call with a Gemiini Product Specialist if you have any questions or need help creating personalized videos.


Aldi, C., Crigler, A., Kates-McElrath, K., Long, B., Smith, H., Rehak, K., & Wilkinson, L. (2016). Examining the Effects of Video Modeling and Prompts to Teach Activities of Daily Living Skills. Behavior analysis in practice, 9(4), 384–388.
Bennett, K.D., Dukes, C. (2014). A Systematic Review of Teaching Daily Living Skills to Adolescents and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Rev J Autism Dev Disord, 1, 2–10.
Bellini, S., Akullian J. (2007). A Meta-Analysis of Video Modeling and Video Self-Modeling Interventions   for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Exceptional Children, 73 (3), 264- 287.
Drahota, A., Wood, J. J., Sze, K. M., & Van Dyke, M. (2011). Effects of cognitive behavioral therapy on daily living skills in children with high-functioning autism and concurrent anxiety disorders. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 41(3), 257–265.
Park, J., Bouck, E., & Duenas, A. (2018). The Effects of Video Modeling and Video Prompting Interventions on Individuals with Intellectual Disability: A Systematic Literature Review. Journal of Special Education Technology, 34 (1), 3-16.