Traditionally, prospective resource parents must attend all pre-service training in person. Although live sessions are necessary for screening applicants, instructional portions of training could be enhanced by web-based sessions. This pilot study compares the effectiveness of online and classroom versions of one session from a widely used pre-service training program.
Ninety-two individuals enrolled in the program in two states were randomly assigned to a treatment group that viewed an online version of the class on child abuse and neglect or to a comparison group that took the same class in person. Written questionnaires were completed before and after the class. Significant group differences on knowledge of child maltreatment and empathy toward birth parents plus high user satisfaction were hypothesized.
Results showed the online training was more effective than the live training at increasing knowledge. Findings on empathy were not statistically significant but trended toward greater empathy for the online group. Feedback indicated high satisfaction with the online course.
The finding that online instruction is more effective than live instruction has positive implications for practice, because web-based training offers advantages like standardizing instruction, cutting agency and trainee costs, and providing greater flexibility.
The article, coauthored by Richard Delaney, Carol Nelson, Caesar Pacifici, Lee White and Betsy Keefer Smalley, is titled: Web-enhanced pre-service training for prospective resource parents: A randomized trial of effectiveness and user satisfaction. Journal of Social Service Research, Vol. 38: #4, pp. 503-514. To order a reprint, contact the Journal of Social Service Research at http://www.tandfonline.com/
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