Discrete Trial Training (DTT) is a method of teaching in simplified and structured steps. Instead of teaching an entire skill in one go, the skill is broken down and “built-up” using discrete trials that teach each step one at a time (Smith, 2001.) It is a one-to-one instructional approach used to teach skills in a planned, controlled, and systematic manner.

DTT is used when a learner needs to learn a skill best taught in small repeated steps. Each trial or teaching opportunity has a definite beginning and end, thus the descriptor discrete trial. Within DTT, the use of antecedents and consequences is carefully planned and implemented.

The biggest misconception about DTT is that it is the same as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) when, in fact, DTT in just one of the methods used in ABA.