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Can online discussions help student social workers learn when studying communication?

Domakin, Alison (2011) Can online discussions help student social workers learn when studying communication? ISSN 1470-1227

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Research shows that despite the potential of online discussions to stimulate meaningful debate, locating evidence of complex engagement with ideas in online discussions has proved difficult. This paper explores student social workers' perceptions of learning from participation in online discussions and analyses how these can be used most effectively to develop understanding about interpersonal communication. The research context was a communication unit on a social work degree in which online discussions were used regularly. Student questionnaires were analysed and compared with a grounded theory analysis of online postings. The results suggest that using online discussions is an emotive experience for students. A model of using online discussion to teach communication skills is proposed, building on the work of Gunawardena et al., in which the links between ‘process knowledge’ (how students experience online discussion) and ‘content knowledge’ (the curriculum) are used as learning material. It is argued that deeper learning may result from examination of this dynamic. Further research to investigate applications of this model in social work education is needed.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Full-text of this article is not available in this e-prints service. This article was originally published following peer-review in Social Work Education, published by and copyright Routledge.
Divisions: Faculties > Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care > Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2011 11:34
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2016 14:03
URI: http://e-space.mmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/198289


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