Examining Distance Education in Teaching Clinical Counseling Skills to Rehabilitation Counselors-in-Training
Committee ChairKampfe, Charlene M.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis exploratory study was designed to examine counseling skill acquisition for Rehabilitation Counseling education students enrolled in a distance education Practicum I course. The course utilized interactive television (ITV), Desire 2 Learn (D2L), a course management system, and some formalized group meetings for curriculum delivery. Students were asked to provide two audio recordings that served as pre-test and post-test measures of counseling skills. Recordings were analyzed by two evaluators. In addition to the recordings, students completed two survey instruments, an initial demographic questionnaire and a survey of attitudes towards the use of technology in the course that was completed along with the post-test recording. A comparison of pre-test and post-test means on the audio recordings revealed no significant change in counseling skills for students enrolled in this course. There was an increase in the number of empathetic responses, clarifying statements, paraphrasing, questions and closing statements on the post-test recordings but a decrease in attending responses and opening statements. Survey findings indicated that students perceived distance education to be an effective use of their time and improved the quality of course interactions. Students also reported that technology made interacting with their peers difficult and somewhat impersonal. Approximately half of the students agreed that they were comfortable with the course technology. A majority to students indicated they would have preferred a traditional approach to learning counseling skills. These findings have implications for counseling programs currently utilizing ITV or webconferencing to deliver clinical skills courses. It may have broader implications for other clinical skills training programs delivering training via other distance education modalities.