Abstract: What Types of Reinforcement Strategies Are Employed to Enhance Transfer of Learning: Results of a Scoping Review (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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What Types of Reinforcement Strategies Are Employed to Enhance Transfer of Learning: Results of a Scoping Review

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Encanto A, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Kerry Deas, MSW, PhD Student, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, NY
Geetha Gopalon, PhD, MSW, Associate Professor, Hunter College, New York, NY
Avital Kaye-Tzadok, PhD, MSW, Department Head, Ruppin Academic Center, Netanya, Israel
Diane DePanfilis, PhD, MSW, Professor, Hunter College, New York, NY
Background and Purpose: Training is essential for child welfare professionals in the advancement of work with individuals and families. Transfer of Learning (ToL) refers to the integration of behaviors and skills learned in training into daily practice (Liu & Smith, 2011). There has been limited research on the extent to which ToL occurs within the field of child welfare (Futris et al., 2014). A scoping review was conducted to examine relevant child welfare literature to explore factors that impact ToL, understand skills that are incorporated into practice, and analyze strategies utilized to facilitate ToL. ToL reinforcement strategies are defined as methods used to support the transfer of specific behaviors and skills into child welfare practice during, or after the provision of a training intervention. This paper highlights ToL strategies used to support ToL within various child welfare settings.

Methods: To analyze different ToL strategies utilized, 3804 studies were screened against a set of predetermined criteria. Once the studies were categorized by field/discipline, 21 studies specific to child welfare settings were reviewed. The data from each article were reviewed and extracted to explore and classify reinforcement strategies employed in these child welfare relevant studies.

Results: Child welfare publications between 1998 – 2018 were included in the review of ToL strategies. Of the publications examined (n = 21), results indicate that there were limited ToL reinforcement strategies tested in these studies. Ten (47%) of studies described post-ToL strategies used to reinforce training content, including coaching (n = 5), consultation (n = 2), feedback (n = 1), refresher course (n = 1), and interview recordings (n = 1).

Conclusions and Implications: Existing literature demonstrates that the use of coaching and case consultations reinforces training transfer for child welfare professionals and may increase collaboration among workers and support challenging assumptions (Antle et al., 2009; Forrester et al., 2018; Hatton Bowers et al., 2015; Synder et al., 2015). As a result, child welfare agencies should continue to explore the use of coaching and consultation as strategies to reinforce ToL. Further research on ToL strategies is needed to evaluate the extent to which reinforcement interventions are effective in promoting the use of specific behaviors and skills in child welfare practice.