By Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D
I was recently given the chance to review the ABA DrOmnibus App, built by the Polish tech company, DrOmnibus. The company is the only Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) company currently involved in Google’s LaunchPad Accelerator program and is positioned to make waves in the U.S. ABA market.
After downloading the app onto my iPhone, I was given the option to watch a demo of the app’s features, including nearly 7,000 learning tasks with embedded praise in a responsive learning environment. The demo frames the app as providing “education and therapy in one.”
After logging in, I arrived at the main menu, which prompted me to select one of several skill categories from a drop down menu. The options included were cognitive, mathematical, nature, or social. Alternatively, the user can display all of the activities simultaneously on the same page.
Activities covering the before-mentioned skillsets are available at different levels of learning. The Basic Learning category targets “students with significant cognitive deficits” and focuses on “learning sets according to particular subjects” which includes colors, shapes, foods, emotions, and many more. Upon clicking on the first activity, based on colors, I was given a pretest that presented a verbal Discriminative Stimulus (SD) to “touch red” in the absence of distractor stimuli. If I didn’t do anything, the app cycled through other colors and SDs. As soon as I touched the correct color, the app presented the next SD for another color. At the end of the pretest, the app asked me if I wanted to play again, gave me a percent correct score, and told me I was at level 1 out of 21.
I then entered the test phase, within the same exercie. Again, I was presented with the auditory SD of “touch red” with only red present. If I didn’t respond, a variety of prompts were used to evoke a correct response – the shape might get bigger, a finger might appear on the color as a gestural prompt, or the color itself might become highlighted. Upon a correct response, the app gave auditory praise coupled with tokens, which could be tracked across the bottom of the screen.
Upon filling all of my tokens for the activity, the app emited a celebratory response and I was then presented with an opportunity to select from an array of nine “minigames.” I selected a game that allowed me to tap on different musical instruments to hear their sounds. A timer of 20-30 seconds counted down my “play time” after which the app returned to the learning
After the Basic Learning category was the Improvement category of games, which is designed to “teach students to generalize the subjects covered in basic learning games” to include more complex tasks and multiple choice questions. I again selected the “color” game and noted the increased complexity as the app presented an array of colors to the user and asked me to “touch all of the reds” which also include objects instead of pure colors.
Next was the Sounds category, which focused on “learning to associate sounds with objects” which are “useful for developing knowledge about the surrounding environment.” In the game I selected, I was given the instruction “listen and mark the answer” followed by the verbal SD “what animal is this?” and was then presented with a sound, and an array of animal choices to match to the sound.
Finally, the Quiz category contained “games that cover a wide range of subjects” with an “emphasis on the development of logical thinking and general knowledge.” The Quiz section combined elements of the previous activities together into higher order categories such as “hot and cold”, “fast and slow” or “objects and attributes” as a few examples. I selected one of the Quiz options – matching pictures, and was presented with a match-to-sample array. The voice asked me to match the sample to the appropriate comparison. For example, I was presented with an image of a tennis court, to which I had to match with a tennis racquet. Other examples included a light switch to a light, and a fish to water. As before, incorrect responses were prompted. The Quiz category represented the most complex category that most closely approximated higher-order categories and concepts found in our daily lives.
Overall, I found the user experience to be engaging. I was impressed at the quality of animtion and sounds in the app. Moreover, the embedded “minigames” made for fun “breaks” in between the learning games. If your child struggles to maintain attention, this app could help him/her focus for longer periods of time while learning something in the process.
If you are interested in learning more about DrOmnibus, or receiving a free 14-day trial of their app, click here.
Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which owns the top behavior analytic media outlet in the world, bSci21.org. bSci21Media aims to disseminate behavior analysis to the world and to support ABA companies around the globe through the Behavioral Science in the 21st Century blog and its subsidiaries, bSciEntrepreneurial, bSciWebDesign, bSciWriting, bSciStudios and the ABA Outside the Box CEU series. Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar. He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues. Dr. Ward has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas. Dr. Ward is passionate about disseminating behavior analysis to the world and growing the field through entrepreneurship. Todd can be reached at email@example.com
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