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The Use of E-Learning in Social Work Education

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Abstract and Figures

E-learning is an evolutionary pedagogy in social work. E-learning technologies transform learning so that it can be synchronous or asynchronous. The author provides a systematic discussion of e-learning and its role in social work education. E-learning appears advantageous as a hybrid or blended venue when used in academia and suitable in various formats for continuing education. Theoretical foundations that support positive learning outcomes should guide delivery. Distance delivery, regardless of the media or technology used, is not by itself a contributing variable in students' achievement. The priority of teaching and learning should be on effectiveness of the learning, regardless of the mode of delivery. Current descriptive research on e-learning can be improved by increasing the rigor of methodology and theoretical considerations. This information is necessary as the profession navigates the best ways to meet the changing needs of social work students and social workers in the field.
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e Use of E-Learning in Social
Work Education
James E. Phelan
E-learning is an evolutionary pedagogy in social work. E-learning technologies transform
learning so that it can be synchronous or asynchronous. The author provides a systematic
discussion of e-learning and its role in social work education. E-learning appears advanta-
geous as a hybrid or blended venue when used in academia and suitable in various formats
for continuing education. Theoretical foundations that support positive learning outcomes
should guide delivery. Distance delivery, regardless of the media or technology used, is not
by itself a contributing variable in students’ achievement. The priority of teaching and learn-
ing should be on eectiveness of the learning, regardless of the mode of delivery. Current
descriptive research on e-learning can be improved by increasing the rigor of methodology
and theoretical considerations. This information is necessary as the profession navigates the
best ways to meet the changing needs of social work students and social workers in the field.
KEY WORDS: blended learning; distance education; e-learning; social work education;
Social work educators face many challenges
when teaching evidence-based practice skills
( Soydan, 2007). Changes in budgets, delivery
methods, and demands results in greater challenges
( Goode, 2000). Institutions seek creative ways to in-
tegrate learning within evolving technological ad-
vances ( Anderson-Meger, 2011; Buzducea, 2010;
Regan & Freddolino, 2008). Many institutions face
heightening pressure to increase online programs
( Vernon, Vakalahi, Pierce, Pittman-Munke, & Adkins,
E-learning refers to the use of electronic tech-
nologies to deliver a broad array of solutions that
enhance knowledge and performance ( Wentling etal.,
2000). E-learning may oer social work educators
ways to improve opportunities. The use of technol-
ogy and multimedia to assist in education and prac-
tice is not a new concept; however, this practice is
widening ( Satterwhite & Schoech, 1996; Siegel,
Jennings, Conklin, & Napoletano Flynn, 1998).
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
currently does not keep an exclusive database about
e-learning oered at accredited universities and col-
leges; however, at the time of this review, CSWE
listed seven undergraduate and 34 graduate social
work programs oering some form of online or
distance education options ( CSWE, 2014). In all,
fewer than 30 CSWE-accredited MSW programs
oered 100 percent online coursework ( Schroer,
2014). Interpreting a 2008 survey of 501 BSW and
MSW programs with a 27 percent response rate,
Anderson-Meger (2011) reported that four out of
10 BSW programs and five out of 10 MSW pro-
grams oered online courses.
E-learning involves the use of electronic media and
information and communication technologies, and
includes various forms of educational technology in
learning and teaching (for example, Web-based learn-
ing). E-learning technologies transform learning so
it can be synchronous or asynchronous. Synchro-
nous learning is when material is presented in real
time (for example, a live Webinar). Asynchronous
learning is when material is archived and then avail-
able anytime, anywhere (for example, a taped video
linked to a course site). A hybrid or blended envi-
ronment is when e-learning technologies and tra-
ditional education are combined ( Ayala, 2008;
Masie, 2002).
After a review of the social work literature, Madoc-
Jones and Parrott (2005) concluded that e-learning
is at least as eective as face-to-face learning and
257doi: 10.1093/sw/swv010 © 2015 National Association of Social Workers
more eective in specific areas such as teaching and
learning critical thinking, inquiry, and encouraging
engagement. However, more discursive strategies
were needed to facilitate critical thinking.
Thyer, Artelt, Markward, and Dozier (1998) con-
ducted a replicative study with 57 MSW students
enrolled in two dierent practice courses who were
exposed to approximately equal amounts of live, in-
class instruction and two-way interactive televised
instruction. The MSW students who were exposed
to approximately equal amounts of live instruction
and interactive television reported that they preferred
live instruction. Coe and Elliott (1999) surveyed 30
on-campus and 47 distant learners, measuring several
CSWE accreditation outcomes as well as other stu-
dent characteristics. They found that distant learners
and on-campus learners were both successful in
meeting accreditation standards. Loss of socialization
was the biggest negative outcome for distant learners.
Hu (2000) used a pretest–posttest comparison
group to determine dierence between a televi-
siondelivered class (n = 38) and a face-to-face class
(n = 24) of MSW students and found that there was
no significant dierence in the students’ critical
thinking skills between the groups. Based on this
study, Hu concluded that distant learning was as
eective as face-to-face learning. Schoech (2000)
compared an online doctorate course given to a
small sample of social work students with a small
control group (classroom students) and found that
the e-learning environment was as rich as the face-
to-face environment.
Petracchi (2000) reported on the findings of 142
social work students’ responses to questionnaires re-
garding their educational experiences with technol-
ogy, their learning environment, the instructor’s
teaching skills, and perceived resource availability.
Respondents at both sites were pleased with their
learning experience; 100 percent of students who
learned via interactive television and 75 percent of
the students who viewed videotaped courses indi-
cated they would enroll in distance learning again.
The opinions of remote social work student respon-
dents suggested positive learning experiences, par-
ticularly as they experienced two delivery formats.
Kleinpeter and Potts (2000) compared distance edu-
cation MSW students with on-campus students and
found there were no dierences in grades. Glezakos and
Lee (2001) also compared distant education and on-
campus MSW students and also found there were no
dierences in grades.
Banks and Faul (2007) used a pretest–posttest
comparison study (n = 18 in the experiential group;
n = 11 in the comparison group) to determine if
removing face-to-face hours in an MSW research
course would negatively aect learning outcomes.
The results indicated there were no significant dif-
ferences in learning outcomes between the two
groups. Younger students with less social work ex-
perience were most likely to support blended course
In an evaluation of the eectiveness of interactive
television in teaching an MSW foundation research
methods course, the performance of distant students
who received instruction via interactive television
was compared with the performance of their peers
who received a blended format, and with students
who took the course in a traditional classroom. A
retrospective analysis of student performance, span-
ning a four-year period, found that students per-
formed comparably regardless of the setting for the
course. The three groups of students did not dier
statistically in terms of their grades ( Petracchi &
Pathner, 2008).
Oterholm (2009) used a sociocultural perspective
of learning for developing questions and found that
positive outcomes of e-learning occurred among
social work students when engagement occurred,
that is, when everyone had a voice and had an op-
portunity to reflect and research responses. Webber,
Currin, Groves, Hay, and Fernando (2009) compared
social work students enrolled in an e-learning course
with a control group (classroom students) and found
that the e-learning social work students met learn-
ingoutcomes to the same extent as the control
groupand were highly satisfied with the mode of
The major limitation of the research studies dis-
cussed previously was that their findings were based
on small convenience samples. It is dicult to gen-
eralize the findings because programs were developed
dierently and used dierent formats (nonstandard-
ization). Another problem was that these studies
operationalized the independent variable dierently
depending on the distant learning format used.
Best practices reports also provide helpful infor-
mation for social work educators. For example, the
University of Texas–Pan American social work de-
partment reported their hybrid distance education
program as a best practice because it showed how a
Hispanic-serving institution had taken advantage of
available educational technology, interinstitutional
Social Work Volume 60, Number 3 July 2015
collaboration, and knowledge of the local culture
to provide access to higher education for students
in otherwise educationally underserved and high-
poverty areas ( Longoria & Díaz, 2014).
Case reports and other reviews are also helpful
ingaining a more complete understanding of student
and faculty feedback and recommendations (see,
forexample, Bertera & Littlefield, 2003; Brennan,
Rosen zweig, Koren, & Hunter, 2006; Cappiccie &
Desrosiers, 2011; Harr is & Parrish, 2006; Hisle-Gorman
& Zuravin, 2006; Hollister & Kim, 2001; Macy,
Rooney, Hollister, & Freddolino, 2001; Massimo,
2004; Weingardt & Villafranca, 2005).
Studies outside of social work have revealed that
most often e-learning is at least as good as, if not
better than, traditional instructor-led methods such
as lectures in contributing to demonstrated learning
( Ruiz, Mintzer, & Leipzig, 2006). Reviews of the
studies across disciplines indicate there is ample
evidence to support the eectiveness of distance
education in the areas of learner outcomes, social-
ization and growth of students, access to advisement,
faculty and library resources, retention rates and
cost-eectiveness ( Chacon-Duque, 1987; Verduin
& Clark, 1991).
Research with MSW students revealed that they
are receptive to e-learning if it is high quality and
meets stated objectives ( Okech, Barner, Segoshi, &
Carney, 2014). Not everyone feels optimistic; one
survey found that 23 percent of academic leaders be-
lieved the learning outcomes for online education are
inferior to those of face-to-face instruction ( Allen &
Seaman, 2013).
Although much of the research is descriptive of e-
learning, with some exception, it significantly lacks
reflection of theoretical basis to inform social work
practice. In designing a Web-based child welfare
practice course in a social work program, Bellefeuille
(2006) found that critical and reflective processes
were well suited to an online pedagogy. The online
environment was seen as adaptive for use with an
objectivist and constructivist approach to teaching
critical thinking. The students found success in that
they were able to access an unlimited amount of
information and resources via the Web, and at the
same time had the ability to share ideas with a wider
audience, thus increasing satisfaction.
Madoc-Jones and Parrott (2005), after a review
of the social work and e-learning literature, claimed
that postmodern learning philosophy, as a theoreti-
cal framework, can help guide the design and deliv-
ery of e-learning environments. Oterholm (2009),
after evaluating the kinds of teaching activities most
eective with social work students, concluded that
a theoretical foundation for learning is one that is
built on a sociocultural perspective in which learn-
ing is an active, cognitive process that occurs via
interaction with others and the environment (con-
structivism). After all, distance delivery, regardless of
the media or technology used, is not by itself a con-
tributing variable in students’ achievement ( Russell,
In their evaluation of distance programs through
California State University, Potts and Hagen (2000)
used systems theory as a way to suggest that social
work educators make eorts to augment a sense of
community within and between distant education
classrooms. They suggested that further research
should focus on actual learning outcomes and the
acculturation of students and their socialization into
the profession in addition to more easily obtainable
parameters such as grades and course evaluations.
In non–social work literature, Liaw, Huang, and
Chen (2007) conducted a factor analysis of e-learning
and found that learners’ attitudes can be grouped into
four dierent factors: (1) e-learning as a learner au-
tonomy environment (constructivism), (2) e-learning
as a problem-solving environment (constructivism),
(3) e-learning as a multimedia learning environment
(connectivism), and (4) teachers as assisted tutors in
e-learning (objectivism). Furthermore, this study pro-
vided evidence that e-learning as a problem- solving
environment can be positively influenced by specific
factors. Knowledge of specific factors can give educa-
tors an idea on how to create plans that may provide
opportunities for success. For example, the theory,
supported by research and suggesting that student
engagement greatly improves learning, informs edu-
cators to seek practical ways to make e-learning more
engaging ( Tiernan, 2012). A question for developers
would then be, “In what ways can we make this more
engaging for students?”
Theoretical foundations in knowledge manage-
ment, historically a business concept, now recently
trickling down into applicability within the social
sciences, has also been introduced in understanding
and broadening e-learning practicality ( Liebowitz &
Frank, 2011). Integrating knowledge management
can be applicable to social work as it helps to create
a more dynamic process of understanding e-learning,
Phelan / e Use of E-Learning in Social Work Education 259
given that it helps operationalize organizational learn-
ing in its roles in knowledge acquisition, sharing,
application, and as a tool to help internalize tacit
knowledge ( Liebowitz & Frank, 2011). Even if main-
stream conceptions of knowledge do not fully fit
with that of social work knowledge, a spectrum
view may be useful ( Leung, 2007).
Although some institutions may want to use e-learning
as a stand-alone solution to update or expand their
curricula, Ruiz et al. (2006) suggested that it is best
to begin with an integrated strategy that considers
the multidimensions of blended learning. In reality,
e-learning was not intended to eliminate the conven-
tional classroom, but, rather, to improve access and
oer students and sta flexibility ( Garrison & Kanuka,
2004). Connolly, Jones, and Turner (2006) asserted
that blended learning and experimental subsets are
the preferred way of adopting e-learning solutions
in higher education.
There is some evidence from multidisciplines that
blended learning has the potential to be more eec-
tive and ecient when compared with a traditional
classroom model ( Heterick & Twigg, 2003; Twigg,
2003). A meta-analysis by the U.S. Department of
Education (ED) was run on 50 empirical studies
with grades K through 12. The same method was
applied with 43 studies of older learners. The most
common subject content of older college students
was health care and sciences. Results were very
similar—that is, blended instruction had a larger
advantage relative to purely face-to-face instruction
or instruction conducted wholly online. The reasons
oered were that blended instruction tends to involve
more learning time, encourage more interactions
among the learners, and oer additional instruc-
tional resources (ED, 2010).
In terms of applicability to social work education,
Miller and Carawan (2009) found that hybrid or
blended learning holds promise for social work educa-
tors who seek to meet the needs of rural social work
students. In their research with social work students,
they found that the hybrid samples preformed simi-
larly to those that did not use a hybrid format.
E-learning can be cost-eective, therefore promising
to keep education aordable, which is vital consid-
ering that most states require social workers to ob-
tain several hours of continuing education units
(CEUs) to maintain their licenses and that social
workers are generally not compensated as well as
other professionals requiring a master’s degree
( Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013). E-learning also
aords opportunities to reduce the burdens of travel
and related expenses. Specific technological innova-
tions now allow professionals the opportunity to
further their education without the worry of logis-
tics and time constraints. Many bodies of accredita-
tion are now recognizing e-learning as valid for CEUs
(National Association of Social Workers [NASW] &
Association of Social Work Boards [ASWB], 2005).
Distance courses should adhere to quality and
integrity, academic honesty and gatekeeping, and pri-
vacy and surveillance ( Reamer, 2013). The NASW
Code of Ethics (NASW, 2008) is not prohibitive, only
cautionary of continuing education programs via
technology, and states that social workers shall adhere
to the NASW Standards for Continuing Professional
Education (NASW, 2003) and follow applicable li-
censing laws regarding continuing education deliv-
ered via electronic means. NASW and ASWB have
teamed up to provide guidance to social workers as
it relates to technology and social work practice. The
implication of their guidance is that continuing
education in venues of e-learning needs to adhere
to high standards, giving users access to supervision,
access to “live” support when needed, and the abil-
ity to provide feedback. The idea is that if all these
are in place, ethical concerns are minimized ( NASW
& ASWB, 2005).
Ultimately, the challenge for the field of social work
is how to navigate the electronic environment to
eectively apply learning to an in-person practice
situation. Culture and gender sensitivity also draw
consideration to e-learning. There is some data to
support that female students assign more importance
to the planning of learning, as well as to being able
to contact the teacher in various ways. In addition,
some cultures and individuals may prefer in-person
interactional learning methods over alternative e-
learning methods ( González-Gómez, Guardiola,
Martín Rodríguez, Montero, & Miguel, 2012).
Communication and information technologies
should support applications that develop social pres-
ence and enable sociality ( LaMendola, 2010). The
human connection so embedded in social work’s
unique profession should not get ineectively
compromised in technology. It is hard to substitute
Social Work Volume 60, Number 3 July 2015
the nuances of direct human connections that may
give way to technology ( Stotzer, Fujikawa, Sur, &
Arnsberger, 2013). The technical factor, extrinsic
motivation, and learning climates are equally im-
portant. Wu and Hwang (2010) asserted that educa-
tors cannot simply prescribe a computer-based
assignment and neglect the social needs of students.
Much of the research on e-learning outcomes fails
to support the superiority of any single delivery
medium over another ( Clark & Mayer, 2011). There
is also a need to ensure how courses can achieve high
quality and meet stated objectives ( Okech et al.,
2014). Research should also focus on addressing the
multiple challenges discovered from those who have
already implemented e-learning in social work
education ( Knowles, 2007).
Much of the research in social work education is
descriptive yet void of reflecting on a theoretical
basis to inform practice. Building on the current
descriptive research can be improved by increasing
the rigor of methodology (for example, use of larger,
less biased samples; standardization; replication; and
so on). The social work literature is scant of theo-
retical foundations for understanding e-learning
systems. There is a need to research how to articu-
late theoretical frameworks that center on adult
learning in social work. Too many plans are devoid
of a theoretical basis and, when things do not work,
we do not have a theory to inform our decision
making as to next steps. Articulating those theo-
retical frameworks and linking them to specific as-
pects in plan design are sorely needed. The evidence
gathered in existing studies needs to point to the
design features that not only reflect a theoretical basis,
but also point toward course design considerations.
Research should also give us more information
about what “success” means in terms of the process,
not just whether the student was “satisfied.” Further
research should seek to address what ways we can
increase the quantity and quality of e-learning
interactions; for example, should students be
required to attend distance education orientation
meetings and assigning group projects, as was
foundto be helpful in an experiment innovative
collaboration between two universities ( Crowell &
McCarragher, 2007)? More data on best practices
are also needed.
One of the most crucial prerequisites for success-
ful implementation of e-learning is the need for
careful consideration of how e-learning actually
takes place ( Govindasamy, 2001). Structure, delivery,
service, and outcomes for teaching e-learning can
be discovered by use of multiple methods, including
case study methodologies ( MacDonald & Thompson,
2005). Educators who choose e-learning need to be
informed about the philosophies, or theories, of
teaching and students’ desires for learning, as well
asmultidimensionality of teaching determination,
and allow flexibility in both areas ( Kanuka, 2008).
Anderson-Meger (2011) argued that more research
is needed in teaching and learning critical thinking
and the roles that e-learning can take in the process.
Although today’s students may welcome and em-
brace technology, there is still a need to provide
direction to students on their formation of critical
thinking skills via the use of technology ( Frey, Faul,
& Yankelov, 2003).
The process should be taken further to under-
stand what makes engagement more real for stu-
dents. Is it by giving the students an experience for
which they can reflect on the experience (construc-
tivism), by transmitting the learning and providing
optimum solutions at their disposal (objectivism),
by linking them to networking that centers on
building knowledge via connectivity within the
network (connectivism), or a combination of sorts
( Driscoll, 2000; Siemens, 2004)?
It would also be helpful to do pilot studies on
learner interactivity, learners’ eciency, learners’
motivation, cognitive eectiveness, and flexibility
of learning style. The personal learning experience
of students using online formats in social work needs
more careful exploration.
E-learning was not intended to eliminate the con-
ventional classroom in higher education; it was in-
tended to be used as a tool for institutions to improve
access and oer students and sta flexibility. Theo-
retical foundations that support positive learning
outcomes should guide e-learning delivery. After
all, distance delivery, regardless of the media or tech-
nology used, is not by itself a contributing variable
in students’ achievement. The priority of teaching
andlearning should be on eectiveness of the learn-
ing, regardless of the mode of delivery. The current
descriptive research on e-learning can be improved
Phelan / e Use of E-Learning in Social Work Education 261
by increasing the rigor of methodology and theo-
retical considerations.
E-learning appears more advantageous as a
blended or hybrid venue for academia and suitable
in various formats in continuing education. In-
creased research is needed to determine how e-
learning aects social work education and delivery.
A summary of some practical implications of e-
learning beneficial to social work follows:
• E-learning delivery can help social workers in
the field increase their access to information,
increase ease in updating content, personalize
instruction, and ease distribution of educa-
tional information.
• For social workers in practice and in need of
CEUs, e-learning aords opportunities that
reduce financial burdens.
• The use of e-learning to support a blended
learning environment supports the curricu-
lum to help increase students’ options, flexibil-
ity, and conveniences.
• E-learning oers solutions that can provide
virtual supervision and consultative opportu-
nities as social workers become more mobile
or otherwise restricted.
• Specific e-learning delivery methods enable
educators to reach students who are remote
or otherwise disadvantaged.
• E-learning can be used to improve dissemina-
tion of standardized information to social
work students and practitioners (for example,
updated policies and laws, national current
events, current research results).
• E-learning can be used to augment social work
curricula when specific items in core curricula
are too brief or missing altogether, for example,
topics relevant to private practice and business
management, because most graduate schools
do not teach content specific to private prac-
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James E. Phelan, MSW, LCSW, BCD, is buprenorphine
services program coordinator, Department of Veterans Aairs,
Behavioral Health/Recovery Services, Chalmers P. Wylie Care
Center, 420 N. James Road, Columbus, OH 43219–1834;
e-mail: The author would like to thank
Jorge G. Ruiz, MD, and colleagues for their foundational work
and for allowing him to use it to further this topic with applicability
from the medical profession to that of social work.
Original manuscript received August 27, 2014
Final revision received January 20, 2015
Accepted February 5, 2015
Advance Access Publication April 21, 2015
Social Work Volume 60, Number 3 July 2015
... The most vulnerable are those professions in which professional activity is associated with direct communication and physical contact with other people. Social work is undoubtedly one of these professions (Kurzman & Maiden, 2014;Phelan, 2015). ...
... It has gained substantial importance during to the COVID-19 pandemic (de Bie et al., 2020;Sonuga-Barke, 2021;Thomeer et al., 2020), shifting the emphasis toward the virtual space (Siciliano et al., 2020;Vincent & Hamilton, 2020). The trend of moving social work education (SWE) toward the virtual setting existed even before COVID-19, with many universities offering SW courses online (Kurzman & Maiden, 2014;Phelan, 2015;Webber et al., 2010), but the pandemic facilitated this transition (Mclaughlin et al., 2020). The COVID19 pandemic has changed the way we interact, as the social distancing guidelines have affected our professional and social lives (Algara et al., 2021), including in the SW space, forcing the active use of virtual technologies (Algara et al., 2021;Gredig et al., 2020;Mclaughlin et al., 2020). ...
... Today, the increasingly popular teaching tool is simulation-based training (Lundquist et al., 2020), which allows determining the quality and level of reflection of the learners (Lundquist et al., 2020). In social work, e-learning is regarded as an evolutionary pedagogy (Phelan, 2015), suitable in various formats for continuing education (Phelan, 2015). However, a contributing factor in students' achievement was reported to be the effectiveness of the learning, rather than the mode of delivery (Phelan, 2015). ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has induced changes in the regular patterns of social interaction, causing the need for new approaches to teaching social work. This work aims to examine the features, opportunities, and prospects of implementing e-learning in Social Work Education. The study recruited 116 students from [anonymized for blind peer review] University and 109 students from [anonymized for blind peer review] University. All participants were asked to complete online questionnaires with the view of assessing their perceptions of e-learning. The study uses a structural analysis of the content of academic research in the field of online education in social work to create a questionnaire for surveying students. Based on the results of the descriptive statistics of a students’ survey and the intersection with the study of the corresponding corpus of academic research, a Conceptual model of e-learning in Social Work Education is proposed, which integrates the available academic findings and the real situation estimation in accordance with the assessment of students. Findings suggest that e-learning as a tool for teaching is a promising alternative to traditional classroom or blended learning. The effectiveness of e-learning in social work was highlighted.
... D'entrée de jeu, bien qu'il existe des études sur les cours utilisant les TN dans le domaine du service social, un constat s'impose sur leur manque considérable de réflexion théorique pour en informer la pratique (Phelan, 2015). Certains arguent néanmoins toute la pertinence et l'utilité de l'approche de la pédagogie constructiviste comme avenue incontournable à l'enseignement préconisant les TN en travail social (Oterholm, 2009;Phelan, 2015). ...
... D'entrée de jeu, bien qu'il existe des études sur les cours utilisant les TN dans le domaine du service social, un constat s'impose sur leur manque considérable de réflexion théorique pour en informer la pratique (Phelan, 2015). Certains arguent néanmoins toute la pertinence et l'utilité de l'approche de la pédagogie constructiviste comme avenue incontournable à l'enseignement préconisant les TN en travail social (Oterholm, 2009;Phelan, 2015). À ce titre, Oterholm (2009), ayant évalué les types d'activités d'enseignement les plus efficaces avec les étudiants en travail social, conclut que le fondement théorique de l'apprentissage est celui qui est construit selon une perspective socioculturelle dans laquelle l'apprentissage est un processus cognitif actif qui se produit par l'interaction avec les autres et l'environnement (constructivisme). ...
... Malgré son petit échantillon, cette étude apporte un éclairage intéressant pour l'utilisation des TN dans l'enseignement en travail social. Il est toutefois impératif d'obtenir plus de données sur les meilleures pratiques de l'enseignement en ligne et d'asseoir celui-ci sur des bases théoriques afin de l'appliquer dans l'enseignement en travail social (Phelan, 2015). ...
... E-learning is designed to use electronic technologies to access educational curriculum outside traditional classroom by supplementing traditional forms of face-to-face teaching. These include novel forms of media, information and communication technologies; these could be real time or achieved and presented when needed (Phelan, 2015). Sometimes blended learning would be used, with a combination of e-learning technologies and traditional classroom learning. ...
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This chapter uses the case study of Hong Kong to explore innovative ways to enhance students’ and other stakeholders’ knowledge and skills in working with ethnic minority service users. The chapter begins with important background information about the needs of ethnic minority populations in Hong Kong. The second half of the chapter then focuses on issues of social work education, drawing upon international and national literature to set the scene for an explanation about the planning and delivery of e-learning videos to enable social work students to challenge aspects of discrimination and racism in Hong Kong. The chapter concludes with an appeal for more innovative approaches to social work education, policy and practice in order that the needs of ethnic minority service users are met in Hong Kong.
... This approach is not new. The use of e-learning technologies in Social Work is considered to be an advantage, both as a hybrid or blended process regardless of the teaching method, and the priority of the teaching process should be the effectiveness of learning (Phelan, 2015). According to research data, online curricula have rapidly developed within Social Work schools. ...
The online educational process has effects on all actors involved. The paper investigates the changes that emerged during COVID-19 pandemic in terms of teaching activities in the case of Social Work study program at the University of Oradea. We present students' opinion regarding the way courses, seminars and laboratories were conducted in general, educational materials used in class and, problems that occurred during online meetings. Another component of this study refers to the way the practical activities were carried out. The research results show that students have adapted to the online context and, to a larger extent, the teaching-learning activity could be carried out in order to achieve the educational objectives of Social Work study program.
... Stotzer (2012) points out that distance education can help in training and retaining social workers in rural areas, which can address the shortage of social workers in rural areas as well as contribute to community change. There is evidence that online social work students have statistically similar outcomes as students from conventional universities and that technological innovations provide new opportunities to the discipline with proper utilization (Hamilton et al., 2017;Phelan, 2015;Wilke & Vinton, 2006). A comparative study of interactive television, face-to-face instruction and the traditional classroom found no significant differences between students' experiences, and the majority of them showed willingness that they would enroll again in their respective formats (Petracchi & Patchner, 2000). ...
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The paper discusses the issues and challenges of offering a pan India MSW Programme through distance learning, the national accreditation and assessment council vis-à-vis open universities and Indira Gandhi National Open University’s (IGNOU) role in distance education in social work in India. In this light, the paper describes the IGNOU model of MSW curriculum, fieldwork components, evaluation, delivery mechanism and the challenges and limitations faced by both students and open universities in India. The case study of IGNOU (which is the first national and largest open university in India) provides an understanding of different aspects of curriculum and fieldwork in social work education through open and distance learning.
... The best form to design courses in harmony with work environment is e-learning and modern technology. The use of technology and multimedia to assist in education is quite an old concept, but it is still expanding [7]. Technology skills were mentioned in the previous list and it is not negotiable that they are a very important competence. ...
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This paper explores the role of business environment in connection between students and the labour market. Many employers claimed graduates do not posses essential skills that allow them to adaptate effectively in the work environment. It is not caused by new workers’ lack of knowledge or their not proper technical skills, but it is rather fault of their lack of drive and work ethic. University is often blamed for mismatch between student’s skills and demands of the labour market. As a partner in education reform, the business environment can help students with gaining key competencies and skills.
... While the change was sudden for some, for others, the online has been happening for some time. Perron et al. (2010) and James (2015) had been urging social workers to take seriously the impact of ICT a decade earlier. ...
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This paper seeks to explore social work educators’ experiences of using technology to teach during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last decade, there has been a move to digitalise higher education in many countries worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a mass exodus from the classroom to the home-based office at breakneck speed and highlighted, amongst other things, the digital divide that exists across the world. This research analysed data gathered from an international study that sought educators’ views on various issues related to working during COVID-19. The data were analysed using a thematic approach. The results showed that social work educators, in general, were favourable to online teaching, although the findings highlight critical areas that require consideration in the climate of increased digitalisation and the uncertainty of when a return to a familiar teaching environment can occur. These findings are considered in terms of a social work education informed by critical pedagogy. The results have implications in terms of finding a workable balance between face-to-face teaching and online instruction.
... Web-based learning, Webinars, Mobile learning Video-based learning are some of the modes of e-learning, practiced in corporate training. It helps to communicate with the students through forums, e-mails (Phelan, J.E. 2015). The biggest advantage of e-learning is that the Course Instructor can deliver the lecture anytime and clear students' doubts and can have discussions (Wu E.H.K et al. 2020). ...
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E-learning is one of the predominant disciplines in the current era as every action of the normal human becomes online. Besides, E-learning pedagogy plays a major role in the Social Service paradigm in such a way that giving free education through the web on-demand. The work aims to focus on providing free online workshops and tutorials on software development tools to various other Universities, colleges, schools in and around Majmaa and Riyadh as part of community service to society. The users of the system are faculty, students of other Institutes and schools. The faculties and students who undergo the MUE-Learning can acquire the knowledge of currently available (FOSS) Free Open Source Software and how to use them to develop software applications. The framework includes the preparation of teaching-learning materials, online teaching, and student's assessments. The LMS tool Blackboard is embedded with the proposed framework to enable online teaching. Using the framework, the impact of FOSS education to the school and University students were measured through qualitative and quantitative parameters and proven that more than 75% of success in teaching Free-Open-Source-Technologies to variety of education institutes in and around Majmaa, KSA. Moreover, the comparison on the knowledge gathering in between male and female through different study modes synchronous and asynchronous teaching-learning was statistically tested and results are discussed. The approach meets the challenges of obtaining innovative and effective learning.
... However, once developed, Levin et al. (2013) posited how the relationship between instructors and students was perceived as stronger. Others observed how online instruction increased access to social work education for many students who would not have otherwise been able to attend school (Phelan, 2015;Reamer, 2013). Nevertheless, what is important to note about the educators who experienced success with synchronous and asynchronous instruction is that they were conducting their instruction during times that were not overshadowed with trauma and crisis. ...
This chapter discusses current challenges in social work education outcome assessment in regards to targeting different dimensions of learning (e.g., knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes, CSWE, Educational policy and accreditation standards for Baccalaureate and Master’s Social Work Programs., 2016, p. 6) in relationship to social work education competencies. Outcome assessment plans must consider how to measure each of these learning dimensions separately, while also evaluating how they contribute to students’ overall capacity for social work practice. Because much of the learning in social work programs takes place outside of the traditional classroom, that is, in the field, outcome assessment plans must consider how to achieve valid and reliable results from measures completed by field instructors. As interprofessional education becomes more prevalent, social work competencies mastery must be differentiated from other outcomes when evaluating learning in curriculum areas that are shared with other disciplines. The chapter proceeds to discuss challenges evaluating the learning via distributed education. The author describes outcome assessment strategies, including utilization of CSWE resources, for valid and efficient assessment of learning, development of unique tools to assess values, E-learning, and specialized content areas (e.g., interdisciplinary practice of social work), respectively.KeywordsSocial work educationOutcome assessmentCompetenciesCouncil on Social Work Education
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The operation of distance education programs can be quite challenging especially when offering professional programs that require internships, practica and teaching courses that focus on skill development. It is difficult for instance to teach counseling and other skills through the internet. Nevertheless, the department of social work at The University of Texas – Pan American has developed a hybrid distance education program that enables it to effectively deliver a bachelor’s and a master’s in social work in the two remote locations of Laredo and Brownsville, Texas with the assistance of modern educational technology. This program provides access to accredited social work programs in a geographic area covering approximately 300 miles in the state of Texas. The programs are delivered through a combination of Blackboard, teleconference, Wimba, Skype, cellular phones, reduced seating courses, and Face to Face courses taught on at remote sites by adjuncts or full time faculty members. UTPA is uniquely positioned to respond to this educational need given that we currently represent the only viable CSWE accredited social work department offering both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work south of Austin and Houston, Texas.
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The authors provide an introduction to e-learning and its role in medical education by outlining key terms, the components of e-learning, the evidence for its effectiveness, faculty development needs for implementation, evaluation strategies for e-learning and its technology, and how e-learning might be considered evidence of academic scholarship. E-learning is the use of Internet technologies to enhance knowledge and performance. E-learning technologies offer learners control over content, learning sequence, pace of learning, time, and often media, allowing them to tailor their experiences to meet their personal learning objectives. In diverse medical education contexts, e-learning appears to be at least as effective as traditional instructor-led methods such as lectures. Students do not see e-learning as replacing traditional instructor-led training but as a complement to it, forming part of a blended-learning strategy. A developing infrastructure to support e-learning within medical education includes repositories, or digital libraries, to manage access to e-learning materials, consensus on technical standardization, and methods for peer review of these resources. E-learning presents numerous research opportunities for faculty, along with continuing challenges for documenting scholarship. Innovations in e-learning technologies point toward a revolution in education, allowing learning to be individualized (adaptive learning), enhancing learners' interactions with others (collaborative learning), and transforming the role of the teacher. The integration of e-learning into medical education can catalyze the shift toward applying adult learning theory, where educators will no longer serve mainly as the distributors of content, but will become more involved as facilitators of learning and assessors of competency.
Objective The acquisition of critical thinking skills over one semester by distant and campus social work students enrolled in a graduate-level policy course were compared. Method The scores of pretests and posttests of 62 master's of social work students were analyzed using the California Critical Thinking Skills Test. Results Both groups significantly increased their critical thinking skills with no significant differences found between the two groups. Conclusion Distance education using interactive television was found to be equivalent to face-to-face instruction with regard to acquisition of critical thinking skills.
This article reports data collected from a national survey of all accredited social work programs conducted between December 1995 and February 1996. The purpose was to assess current usage of distance learning in social work education. The findings suggest that the use of distance learning has increased, and that the most prevalent issues reported by educators involve adapting instructional material for course presentation and faculty preparation. Implications of the study findings for social work education are also discussed.
Conference Paper
Objective: The acquisition of critical thinking skills over one semester by distant and campus social work students enrolled in a graduate-level policy course were compared. Method: The scores of pretests and posttests of 62 master's of social work students were analyzed using the California Critical Thinking Skills Test. Results: Both groups significantly increased their critical thinking skills with no significant differences found between the two groups. Conclusion: Distance education using interactive television was found to be equivalent to face-to-face instruction with regard to acquisition of critical thinking skills.
This study presents the results of an evaluation of a graduate-level direct practice course taught through a distance education program that utilized face-to-face satellite television instruction. The study also compared the learning process and delivery system of a distance education direct practice course with that of an on-campus direct practice course. The evaluation indicates positive findings for the distance learners in terms of grade outcomes, interaction with instructor, classmates and perceptions of the instructor. The evaluation also indicated some barriers in the learning environment and access to support services. Recommendations are made for improving the barriers for social work practice courses taught by distance learning methods.
This article reports on the findings of a formative evaluation of an online competency-based child welfare practice course, paying particular attention to the instructional design principles and features required to promote the learning and enhancement of skill sets for reflective anti-oppressive social work practice. The article begins by differentiating the major forms of instructional design along two main dimensions - objectivism and constructivism - and examines the application of constructivism to the instructional design principles and teaching strategies of the online course. It concludes with the findings of the evaluation and a discussion of the pedagogical implications for social work education. © Copyright 2006 Council on Social Work Education, Inc. All rights reserved.