Learning with and without errors in students with ASD

Aprendizaje con y sin error en estudiantes con TEA

María Moralo, Manuel Montanero

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22550/REP77-1-2019-01

Errorless learning is one of the most widely used didactic approaches in the teaching of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The main aim of this work is to analyse the performance in verbal labelling and sequential thinking tasks of children with ASD who follow this method. The activities were structured using a protocol approach of discrete trials training (DTT) with manipulative materials (cards to be matched or ordered). Two teaching approaches were compared: one comprising errorless learning (in which physical prompting was used to prevent the subject from making mistakes) and one involving errors (in which mistakes were permitted and corrected, with the appropriate help). Observation records showed significant differences in sequential thinking tasks, where less skilled subjects achieved poorer results in errorless learning conditions. The approach based on a structured sequence of feedback support when the student made errors led to a slightly higher number of correct answers but also some repeated errors. Finally, the implications of these results for the design of learning sequences of students with ASD are discussed, along with the main limitations of the study.


This is the English version of an article originally printed in Spanish in issue 272 of the revista española de pedagogía. For this reason, the abbreviation EV has been added to the page numbers. Please, cite this article as follows: Moralo, M., & Montanero, M. (2019). Aprendizaje con y sin error en estudiantes con TEA | Learning with and without errors in students with ASD. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 77 (272), 85-101.
doi: https://doi.org/10.22550/REP77-1-2019-01

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María Moralo is a Teacher specialised in Special Education and Psychopedagogy. She has a professional experience of more than 10 years in teaching people with autism spectrum disorders at different educational levels, as well as teacher training. She currently works as a teacher of the IES San Roque of Badajoz (first center of Secondary Education in the province in which a specialized classroom has been implemented for this profile of students).


Manuel Montanero has a degree in Pedagogy and Psychology, and a PhD in Pedagogy. He is a Professor of Didactics and School Organization from the Faculty of Education of the Universidad de Extremadura. His research focuses on the learning of literacy, classroom interaction and educational inclusion, subjects on which he has published more than 60 articles in scientific journals.