competent learner model

Welcome to the New home
of the COmpetent Learner Model

This illustration was developed using the original “Big Ideas” poster created by the CLM’s founder Vicci Tucci.

Click on the different areas in the image to Play ♥️ Learn ♥️ Achieve a greater understanding of the components of this revolutionary model.

Big Ideas Tree
The Sun: Formulate, Deliver, Monitor The Big Ideas of the Competent Learner Model The Core of All Learning - Developing the Foundation to Learn Keep learning environments in balance and motion with the CLM Toolkit Just Teach! Avoid Emotion It Only Causes Commotion Talker Participator Reader Problem Solver Observer Listener Writer I Love the CLM - Vicci Tucci Instructional Conditions The Six Solutions Treasure Chest

The Sun: Formulate, Deliver, Monitor

Formulate Deliver Monitor

The CLM was designed with the actions to formulate, deliver and monitor all of the Learning Solutions throughout an implementation. CLM team members’ roles and responsibilities are agreed upon and communicated. This enables each member to have an active role in the success of the learner, keeping the behavior program moving forward.

These elements are constantly in motion in a CLM program. They provide much of the energy and direction for team members. The following is an example of how to formulate, deliver and monitor a program.

Formulate: Assesses learner performance using the Competent Learner Repertoire Assessment (CLRA) tool. Lessons from the CLM curriculum, as well as contingencies, are selected based on the skills to be established or strengthened from the CLRA to design the treatment plan.

Deliver: The instructor or parent, under the guidance of the CLM Coach, instructs lessons as designed in the CLM curriculum and individualized for the learner.

Monitor: Data-based analysis determines the next actions such as to continue or to make changes to ensure effective programming. Is the learner having fun learning and making progress? If not, what needs to change to make this happen?

The Big Ideas of the Competent Learner Model

big ideas of the clm

The The Competent Learner Model (CLM) is a groundbreaking, individualized educational program, reshaping the landscape of learning by promoting collaboration and consistency in school, home and community environments. Combining elements of applied behavior analysis (ABA), precision teaching, and direct instruction, the CLM offers a revolutionary approach that empowers learners of all ages and abilities through engaging, play-based methodologies. With roots tracing back to B.F. Skinner's insights on functional language, the CLM cultivates seven key repertoires: Talker, Observer, Reader, Writer, Participator, Listener, and Problem Solver. These are seven basic skills that everyone needs to participate as independently as possible; no matter their age or diagnosis. Guided by certified coaches, this innovative framework is adaptable to the diverse needs of learners, parents, educators, and ABA professionals.

The Core of All Learning - Developing the Foundation to Learn

The CLM Curriculum is built to incrementally and sequentially develop the seven CLM repertoires (Talker, Listener, Observer, Problem Solver, Participator, Reader and Writer) that all learners need in order to progress and function to their maximum level of independence in daily life. Naïve learners are taught competencies in each repertoire. The Core of All Learning depicts how the CLM repertoires are the core of learning academic and functional skills.

Keep learning environments in balance and motion with the CLM Toolkit

CLM Toolkit banner

All components of the learning environment, curricula, instructional materials, the physical arrangement of a setting, and teacher delivery, are arranged and rearranged as needed to achieve learning success.

Just Teach!

Just Teach

The Competent Learner Model (CLM) keeps the learning environment in motion by adhering to the principles of "Just Teach”. By implementing the CLM system, instructors and parents can focus on teaching the replacement skills and making learning fun for the learner.

Just-in-Time Instruction: The CLM focuses on providing instruction that is timely and relevant to the learner's current needs and abilities. By addressing skills and concepts as they become necessary, the learning process remains dynamic and responsive. By offering feedback promptly, learners receive the necessary information to adjust their behaviors and understanding in real-time, keeping the learning process moving forward.

Understanding: The CLM emphasizes the importance of ensuring that learners truly grasp the material being taught. Through systematic teaching strategies tailored to individual learning styles, comprehension is enhanced, keeping the learning process moving forward effectively.

Supportive Environment: The CLM creates a supportive and compassionate atmosphere where learners and instructors feel encouraged to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them. This nurturing environment fosters continuous growth and progress, sustaining the momentum of learning.

Targeted Instruction: The CLM identifies specific learning targets for each individual learner, guiding instruction towards these objectives. By focusing on personalized goals, the learning process remains purposeful and directed, minimizing distractions and maximizing progress.

Technology Integration: Incorporating proprietary technology tools and resources into instructional practices and interventions to enhance learning opportunities for practitioners, families and learners.

Engagement: The CLM promotes active engagement in the learning process through interactive activities, meaningful tasks, and opportunities for exploration. By keeping learners actively involved, curiosity is sparked, motivation is maintained, and learning continues to advance.

Achievable: The CLM’s motto of Play ♥️ Learn ♥️ Achieve highlights the importance of presenting instruction that is playful to learners so that learning is fun and achievable for everyone.

Collaboration: The CLM encourages collaborative consultation among learners, parents, teachers, and support personnel. By fostering a sense of community and shared responsibility for learning, ideas are exchanged, perspectives are broadened, and the learning environment remains vibrant and dynamic.

Have Fun: The goal of the CLM is for the learner to enjoy and be happy participating in day to day actions in a natural environment.

In summary, the Competent Learner Model embeds contingencies within teaching practices to provide timely feedback, scaffold learning experiences, foster a supportive environment, target instruction to individual needs, promote engagement, and encourage collaboration among stakeholders. These contingencies ensure that teaching is responsive, effective, and tailored to support learners' continuous growth and development.

Avoid Emotion It Only Causes Commotion

Avoid Emotion

By systematically implementing the CLM tools and products, instructors are empowered to create learning environments that are playful, engaging and meet learners at their individual skill level.

There are short term and long term instructional goals and a proven evidence based path to meet these goals. The CLM is a proactive model, not a reactive one. With supportive CLM coaching, the goal of the CLM is to empower not only learners, but also their instructors and/or family members. Confidence in a program, when implemented with fidelity, alleviates the commotion often caused by reactive strategies.


The Talker

A Talker repeats words and answers who, what, where questions. They can articulate clear ideas (i.e., factual or inferential statements) or answer questions on topic in a conventionally acceptable manner.


The Participator

A Participator follows directions and performs fluently in all of the instructional conditions (i.e., teacher-directed, semi-directed, peer-directed and non-directed). They continue to work hard even when exposed to novel and/or difficult tasks. That is, the learner persists at a task until it comes out right and waits for help if required.


The Reader

A Reader repeats sounds, reads aloud, and answers questions. Readers are able to read both for pleasure and to dictate what they should do (directions on a package). They can answer comprehension questions about a sign or text.

Problem Solver

The Problem Solver

A Problem Solver asks for things, and fixes or gets things. When faced with a problem, the individual learns to behave in ways that maximize the likelihood that will generate a solution.


The Observer

An Observer labels things, matches to a sample, or imitates actions. They are able to observe their surroundings to obtain information and act accordingly.


The Listener

A Listener follows directions and abides by advice. Listeners follow directions and environmental cues to accomplish tasks in their life.


The Writer

A Writer copies text, writes spoken words, and composes sentences. Writers are able to write both for pleasure and for task completion.

I Love the CLM - Vicci Tucci

Vicci Tucci Big Idaes

Vicci Tucci, 1949-2024
ABA pioneer, visionary advocate and fearless innovator.

Vicci was born in Weston, West Virginia in 1949. This was also the year that B.F. Skinner published his book, “The Case for Radical Behaviorism”. This title could also be a caption for Vicci’s life work in the science of ABA and her crowning legacy, the development of The Competent Learner Model. Indeed she directly attributed this 1968 Skinner quote as the inspiration for her formation of the Competent Learner Model.

"Teaching is the arrangement and rearrangement of
contingencies to facilitate learning." ~ B.F. Skinner

Vicci’s initial venture into working with marginalized communities began in her hometown of Weston, West Virginia. In 1971, while pursuing her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of West Virginia, she assumed the role of Recreation Director at the Weston State Hospital. During her early days there, she relocated her desk to the basement where the isolation rooms were, in order to keep the patients company, and deter the doctors from using isolation as punishment. This simple act marked her first official advocacy for a misunderstood and mistreated demographic. It laid the foundation for Vicci’s life narrative, igniting within her the drive to champion marginalized individuals wherever she encountered them.

Vicci’s relentless curiosity about human capacity shaped her journey. In 1978, she completed her Master’s Degree in Psychology, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of the Pacific (UOP) in Stockton, CA. One of her first professional jobs was assisting a group of intellectually and behaviorally challenged adults. The setting was unconventional: a former and now abandoned jail. With a football in the trunk of her car and some paper and pencils, she used these tools to begin to establish value and interact with her learners. Soon she and her class were invited to the local adult school. This led Vicci to think about what preparation her learners needed to function in this new environment.

While attending UOP, she gained experience in a variety of contexts, including research and as a teaching assistant at UOP, serving the Stockton State Hospital as both the Program Coordinator of UOP's Community Re-entry Project and as a Training Specialist through Valley Mountain Regional Center, Instructor at the Manteca Adult School, Residential House Manager at the Howard Training Center, and Teacher Project Director for Manteca Unified School District. Following receiving her MA from UOP in 1978, Vicci went on to serve as Program Director of the Manteca CAPS Center, and Program Director of the Manner House Residential Program and DTAC/Behavioral Program at Serra Residential Center.

From these early experiences she emerged as a fierce and fearless advocate for progressive practices in the treatment of individuals with behavioral challenges, and a promoter of non-coercive methodologies that made her a pioneer within the field of ABA.

In the late 80’s Vicci’s life led her to California’s beautiful Central Coast where she and her wife Ruth put down roots that would hold them for the next 30+ years. She began consulting with the Monterey County Office of Education (MCOE), using her study of the early behaviorists to help her coach classroom teachers on how to work with behaviorally challenged learners. Theory became practice as the framework for teaching learners, as well as coaching teachers, began to take shape. The framework initially encompassed a two-sided approach: curricula for the learners, and a course of study for the instructors. Soon understanding that the administrators must be involved in order for systemic change to occur, the action management process held the key for maintaining an outcomes-based methodology.

The CLM was created out of Vicci's recognition of the need for effective and research validated instructional intervention for both learners and those in instructional roles. During this period of time, Vicci’s time was consumed with working all day in the classroom and then writing all night. There were not enough hours in the day to get this exciting work done! Her work with MCOE led her to found her own behavioral services company, Tucci Learning Solutions, which has been serving learners and families in several regions of California for more than 30 years, implementing the CLM daily with hundreds of learners.

Vicci’s unparalleled understanding of Skinner’s work allowed her to embed the behavior analytic practices into her course of study in a way that was accessible for everyone. She was a masterful learning environment engineer and was passionate about sharing her knowledge. Her vision of coaching and supporting educators to apply best practices, sets the CLM apart from all other models.

Vicci’s professional accolades and awards:

  • Outstanding Contribution of Development by the Board of Directors of the Manteca CAPS Center (1985).
  • Certificates of recognition by Assemblyman Patrick Johnston of the 26th District of CA, and Senator John Garamendi of the 5th District, in honor of her dedicated contributions to the Manteca CAPS Center.
  • Recognition Quilt in Appreciation for Contributions to teachers and learners, which was created and presented by teachers working at the Monterey County Office of Education, Special Education, and which she displayed proudly at her office (1996).
  • Association for Direct Instruction Excellence in Education Award (1999).
  • Future Centre for Special Needs in Abu Dhabi Award (2010).
  • Shenandoah Valley Regional Program in Virginia Recognition Award (2012).
  • West Virginia University's Eberly College of Arts and Sciences' Department Alumni Recognition Award (2012).

Vicci's other monumental contributions to the field of ABA include:

  • The establishment of the California Association for Behavior Analysis (CalABA).
  • The pioneering support of certification of behavior analysts.
  • Served as the Chair of CalABA's Task Force for Certification supporting the recognition and implementation of certification of behavior analysts in the state of California (1992 -1997). Following the establishment of the BACB®, state certifications transitioned into national certification, serving as the first national organization to certify practitioners of ABA, with its standards as the basis of almost all behavior analyst licensing laws in the United States.

Vicci traveled the world supporting global CLM implementations, and she never stopped working to refine and develop both the CLM and its presence in global education. Returning to her hometown of Weston, WV, in semi-retirement, she continued to visit Competent Learner Model classrooms on the east coast and collaborate with colleagues until her passing in February of 2024.

The memorial reflections of those who knew her best and worked by her side for decades describe her this way: Vicci Tucci was highly regarded for her outgoing and dynamic personality. She was an inspiring and passionate individual, brimming with determination and creativity. Her influential nature and innovative spirit made her a leader and a mentor. Words like "trailblazer," "game changer," and "brilliant” describe her impact on colleagues and all who knew her. "Mama", also a term used to describe Vicci, recognizes her nurturing spirit, both in a literal familial sense and as a caretaker within her professional community.

The singular word "trouble" amidst the overwhelmingly positive words used to describe Vicci highlights her ability to challenge the status quo, aligning with her being a game changer. She referred to herself as “MisBehavior” which illustrated her playfulness and humor in the field of behaviorism. Vicci Tucci was admired for her intellect, warmth, and vivacity, making her a beloved and respected figure for all who knew her.

Instructional Conditions

Instructional Conditions

Instructional conditions (IC) are key to learning success. From introducing a new skill, to strengthening a skill, completing a task or socializing with a peer, to participating in leisure or free time activities, the CLM outlines the schedule of reinforcement, the instructor’s proximity and other considerations for the learner to be as independent and successful as possible.

Instructional conditions are an important part of engineering the CLM learning environment. A competent learner moves between these ICs and uses various repertoires to successfully participate in each setting. This enables the learner to participate as independently as possible while avoiding prompt dependency.

The Six Solutions Treasure Chest

1. The CLM Curriculum was developed to provide detailed instructional formats that are designed to systematically strengthen the seven Competent Learner Repertoires (CLRs) of Talker, Listener, Problem Solver, Observer, Participator, Reader and Writer.  It consists of two levels that take the naïve learner from Competent Learner Repertoires that are not established, to the establishment and maintenance of all seven CLRs across all appropriate situations. The completion of the second level of the CLM Curriculum prepares learners to be successful, meeting existing learner expectations at the kindergarten or beginning first grade level of sophistication for neuro typically developing children. Routine implementation of the Competent Learner Model’s instructional formats has been shown to directly and positively impact the development of the Competent Learner Repertoires.

2. The CLM Course of Study prepares educators and parents to be successful at arranging and rearranging the parts of instructional components so that Competent Learner Repertoires (CLRs) develop and undesirable behaviors are weakened.  The course utilizes instruction supported with video examples within an individualized system that assures educators’ and parents’ mastery of the necessary skills by utilizing performance checkouts by certified CLM Coaches. The CLM Course of study creates success for parents and educators by helping them select, arrange and rearrange teaching procedures and settings appropriate for learners’ repertoire development.

3. Performance Assessments are called the Competent Learner Repertoire Assessments, and Performance Review Assessments for Educators and Parents. The CLRAs assist educators to appropriately identify the learner’s strengths and weaknesses across the seven key “learning-to-learn” repertoires. The Competent Learner Repertoire Assessments have been shown to have concurrent validity with the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, be sensitive to change in learner behavior, and have high inter-observer agreement among educators. The educators’ and parents’ performance is continually monitored to assess their ongoing performance in the CLM Course of Study and the delivery of what they have learned to do or say to develop their learners’ competencies.

4. Action Management consists of monthly work sessions which are conducted by an Action Management facilitator. The primary focus of the work sessions is to develop the products and services as outlined in each program’s action plan. A diverse representation of advisors (e. g., parents, educators, administrators, community service providers) and CLM staff participate in the work sessions. The facilitator assures that each member’s results and concerns are recorded in a safe work session environment. The monthly work sessions entail a full day of activity and the agenda normally consists of the following items: 1) Review and/or approval of newly developed products or services for agreed upon results, 2) Work session to develop the products and services, 3) Review the status of the products or services, and 4) Select results to be completed. Action planning team members may work weekly, in small groups, between the work sessions to further develop their products or services (e.g., Student Competencies assessed). The small groups are composed of participants (i.e., educators, parents, community members, and CLM staff) who have the competencies to generate the products.

5. Coaching is utilized to assure mastery of the educators’ and parents’ CLM Course of Study and the eventual oversight of the arranging and rearranging of the instructional conditions. The CLM Coaches are trained to implement the Personalized System of Instruction guidelines, for example, tutoring as needed and pacing progress as they monitor their educators’ and parents’ performance. Tucci Learning Solutions, Inc. is able to conduct Virtual Coaching℠ sessions via the internet. An educator or parent who requires assistance will be able to have immediate access to a CLM ‘Virtual Coach’ anywhere, anytime, to assist in solving the problems at hand. The virtual coach will be able to conduct direct face-to-face chat sessions to assist the educator or parent in formulating strategies. This ongoing supportive relationship will assure that the educator will always have the technical resources needed to develop the competencies that the learners require to be successful across settings.

6. CLM Collaborative Consultation is the practice of providing assistance to educators and parents by creating awareness of the contingencies operating in a given situation. An ongoing functional analysis is conducted which enables board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) to work with educators to determine what rearrangements might best assure for the development of the Competent Learner Repertoires and the weakening of undesirable repertoires. These rearrangements are then tried with subsequent rearrangements which are developed as needed. Throughout the consultation process the BCBA recognizes that the real expertise in the situation lies with the educators and parents who live it every day.