Session: The GAP between Learning and Application of Skills in the Real World (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

251 The GAP between Learning and Application of Skills in the Real World

Saturday, January 19, 2019: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
Continental Parlor 9, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Organizations & Management (O&M)
Diane DePanfilis, PhD, MSW, Hunter College, Geetha Gopalan, PhD, University of Maryland and Caterina, MSW, Hunter College
Substantial research suggests that there is a gap between knowledge and skills introduced in on-the-job training and actual application of learning in the real world. Training transfer involves the extent that participants actually use training curriculum skills in their daily work (Antle et al., 2009). Some researchers conclude that as little as 10%-15% of what is learned in training ever finds its way to the job. Considering the billions of dollars spent on training each year, does the problem lie in the way learning programs are designed or is training transfer affected more by what is done (or not done) to reinforce learning when back on the job? The Kirkpatrick model of evaluating training efficacy (Kirkpatrick, 2005) suggests the need to measure four levels of outcomes: (1) reactions; (2) learning; (3) transfer; and (4) organizational. However, understanding transfer suggests the need to first operationally define the practice behaviors, affective processes, and skills. Moreover, assessment of training transfer must consider the difference between demonstrating proficiency in a simulation versus actual, consistent skill application and competency in the real world. Given the substantial financial investment made in training frontline workers, the current Roundtable addresses a number of concerns relevant to human service organizations. Based on a recent review and synthesis of factors that promote or impede training transfer, presenters will facilitate discussion using the following questions: (1) What individual practitioner factors affect how well learning will be transferred in practice? (2) How should these factors be considered when recruiting staff and designing learning programs? (3) What organizational factors promote continuous learning and application of knowledge and skills? (4) How important are supervisors and peers to training transfer? (5) What reinforcement strategies seem most compelling for supporting social workers to build competence and consistently apply skills in practice? (6) What methods are most promising for evaluating proficiency of core skills? (7) How can evaluations build multiple assessments of proficiency from learners, supervisors, and clients? Panelists will present from the perspective of evaluators and implementation leaders, as they are currently co-leading a major implementation initiative to design and test the relative impact of alternative transfer of learning strategies. The successful transfer of training into daily practice is critical to implementing and sustaining evidence-based practices (EBPs) in social services. Effective EBP implementation requires organizations to develop internal policies and protocols that promote effective training transfer, high fidelity to the EBP, and ultimately, positive client impact. Training transfer is also salient to social work education, which has a mandate to support students to achieve competency outcomes (e.g., 2015 CSWE EPAS). As a result, panelists will discuss how this topic has implications and relevance across multiple fields of practice. Administrators in particular will have interest on how to design and implement transfer of learning strategies. Researchers will consider options for evaluation of the fidelity of transfer of learning strategies as well as alternatives for measuring actual transfer. Roundtable participants will be provided with a selected reference list based on the review of transfer of learning.
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