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The Discrete Trial

Big skills, small steps.

There are things we want our clients to learn that perhaps they don’t come into contact with enough or they don’t receive sufficient support as they are being taught these concepts. In this situation, we often break down larger skills into more manageable steps that have lots of practice opportunities and chance to earn reinforcement– we call this process Discrete Trial Training (DTT).

I thoroughly enjoyed the following video due to its efficient example and commentary. I recommend starting it at time stamp 1:43. Let’s look at it now!

Another super helpful and comprehensive video is the following:

Now try to identify the following on your own:

  • Sd (discriminative stimulus)
  • Target behavior (B) or prompt
  • Sr (conditioned reinforcer) or correction

Check the following post for more tips on DTT:


Many things have inspired me along the way, from the way that atoms interact to universal forces working in tandem to bring joy into my life. I arrived from Cuba at the young age of 6 years old, became a big sister to an exceptional little boy at the age of 13, went off to college as a first-generation college student, earned a Bachelor's degree in Biological Chemistry from Grinnell College. After graduating, I became a high school science teacher with Teach for America and taught for 5 years. While teaching, I earned a Master's of Science in Education and Social Change from the University of Miami and then studied at Florida Institute of Technology and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Currently I am loving my life as a BCBA where every day I learn new skills applicable in my practice and in my life.

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