The Effectiveness Of A Virtual Learning Environment On Student Learning About Clinical Skills
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The purpose of this study was to explore whether social work students could increase their clinical skills knowledge in a Clinical Skills Virtual Learning Environment (CS-VLE). The evaluation of an online exercise that was developed using experiential learning theory and other learning theories was seen as being the first step in challenging a noted theme within social work academia concerning the effectiveness of online environments in teaching clinical skills. This study assessed changes in knowledge, produced by exposure to a web-based clinical skills environment. Results showed significant changes in knowledge after exposure to the online environment as hypothesized. Results also showed that students that worked with all of the learning options presented in the clinical skills environment that were modeled after the four phases of experiential learning did not have a significant difference in increase of learning than those that did not. Increases in learning were not correlated with the number of options experienced. Also, students that worked with all of the learning options presented in the clinical skills environment that were modeled after the four phases of experiential learning in the order set forth by David Kolb did had a significant difference in increase of learning than those that did not. Finally it was found that attitude towards technology was not correlated with increase in knowledge of clinical skills. The results imply that online environments may be effective for the teaching of clinical skills content, however more research is needed as to determine what order and content is most effective. Additional studies should follow that are more rigorous in nature and test other types of clinical content. Also, more testing on attitude towards technology should be done to determine if there is a type of student that may not be appropriate for online education.