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Our present technology of training skills by individual task analyses may not be capitalizing on the overlapping components common to many skills. The purpose of this study was to examine the acquisition of four complex skills--collage-making, toothbrushing, potholder making and shoe-tying--by programming instruction across a number of topographically related sub-components. Two profoundly retarded, institutionalized women served as subjects. Baseline 1 consisted of probes on each of the four skills. Baseline 2 was identical to Baseline^, except the order in which the skills were assessed was randomized. During Operations phases, related components were taught to the clients, using materials different from those required to perform the target skills. Probes were conducted during this phase to determine the degree to which training generalized to the four target skills. Training phases consisted of chaining components unique to a particular target skill. Follow-up data were collected from 2-1/2 to 5 months after training was terminated. During all phases, the prompt level-- independent , verbal, gesture or physical--necessary to occasion each sub-component of a complex task was recorded, as well as duration to complete each complex skill. Approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the sessions were independently scored by observers who were present in the training rooms.