Video modeling is a teaching technique that involves showing learners a video of someone else performing a desired behavior or skill. The purpose is to help the learners develop the necessary skills by watching and copying the model’s behavior.

Many studies have shown the effectiveness of video modeling in teaching social skills to individuals with developmental disabilities, but what developmental theory or model supports its use? Let’s explore.

The Social Learning Theory

The social learning theory, developed by Albert Bandura, suggests that individuals learn through observation and imitation. According to this theory, people learn new behaviors by watching others and imitating their actions. Video modeling is based on this theory as it provides learners with an opportunity to observe and imitate the behavior they see in the video.

The Behavioral Theory

The behavioral theory proposes that behaviors are learned through reinforcement and punishment. In other words, behaviors that are rewarded are more likely to be repeated, while those that are punished are less likely to occur again. Video modeling can be used as a form of positive reinforcement as learners get to see the positive consequences of performing the desired behavior in the video.

The Cognitive Theory

The cognitive theory emphasizes the role of mental processes in learning. It suggests that individuals actively process information from their environment and use it to guide their behaviors. Video modeling can be seen as a cognitive tool as it provides learners with a visual representation of the behavior they need to perform, which they can then process mentally before attempting it themselves.

The Social Cognitive Theory

The social cognitive theory combines elements of both social learning and cognitive theories. It proposes that people learn by observing others’ behaviors and their consequences while also considering their own beliefs and attitudes towards those behaviors. Video modeling aligns well with this theory because it allows learners not only to observe but also identify with the model’s behavior.


In conclusion, several developmental theories support the use of video modeling for teaching social skills. The social learning theory, behavioral theory, cognitive theory, and social cognitive theory all provide a framework for understanding how video modeling can be effective in teaching new behaviors. By incorporating video modeling into their teaching practices, educators can help learners develop the necessary social skills to thrive in their personal and professional lives.