Can Technology Improve the Fidelity of Implementation?

October 4, 2021

Electronically Delivered Support to Promote Intervention Implementation Fidelity: A Research Synthesis. Fundamental to any intervention outcome is the fidelity of implementation of the intervention.  The ultimate goal of implementation science is to assure that innovations are implemented well enough for students to benefit.  Failure to implement well can minimize the effectiveness of even the most powerful intervention.  One of the challenges involved in insuring high quality implementation is that most approaches are resource intensive and often are not seen as feasible in school settings even though failure to achieve adequate implementation fidelity may result in a very poor benefit to cost ratio.  One possible alternative is to utilize technology to reduce the resource demands.  Fallon and colleagues (2021) conducted a systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness of technology-based supports to promote implementation fidelity.  For the purposes of this review, “electronically delivered implementation supports (EDIS) was support delivered to an implementer electronically (e.g., via email, social media, video conferencing) for the purpose of improving educators’ implementation fidelity of a student intervention.”  Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria and were judged to be of sufficient methodological rigor to warrant further analysis.  The electronically delivered implementation supports ranged from video modeling, electronically delivered performance feedback, emailed intervention prompts, coaching via video conference, and online training modules.  All of the studies were based on single participant designs.  Since there are no agreed upon methods for calculating effect sizes for single participant designs, the authors calculated several different effect sizes (Tau-U, Standard Mean Difference, Hedges’ g, and a variation of Hedges’ g.  In most of the studies, the effect sizes ranged from moderate to large regardless of the calculation method used.  After completing the review, the authors provided guidance to educators about when to use the various methods of electronically delivered implementation supports.  This article is a valuable resource to any educator considering implementing an intervention but is concerned about the resource requirements required for insuring high quality implementation.  This article suggests that technology-based alternatives can be effective in supporting implementation and may reduce the overall demands on resources.

Citation: Fallon, L. M., Collier-Meek, M. A., Famolare, G. M., DeFouw, E. R., & Gould, K. M. (2020). Electronically Delivered Support to Promote Intervention Implementation Fidelity: A Research Synthesis. School Psychology Review, 1-16.