Abstract: Transfer of Learning (ToL) of Child Welfare Skills Following Training: Results from a Scoping Review (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

Transfer of Learning (ToL) of Child Welfare Skills Following Training: Results from a Scoping Review

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Encanto A, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Diane DePanfilis, PhD, MSW, Professor, Hunter College, 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
Kerry Deas, MSW, PhD Student, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, NY
BACKGROUND and PURPOSE: Systematic reviews have been considered the “gold standard” for synthesizing evidence since they first started to appear in health care publications in the 1970’s (Bastian, et al., 2010) and were prompted by the formation of the Cochrane group established in the 1990's to synthesize empirical evidence on health care and health policy and the Campbell Collaboration in 1999 to synthesize evidence related to social and behavioral science. Scoping reviews are a more recent approach to synthesize a body of literature, particularly for examining emerging evidence (Munn, et al., 2018). How well practitioners put into practice skills learned in the classroom (ToL) is still very much an emerging area of study.

Methods: A scoping review was implemented to identify and map the available evidence on ToL from literature published between 1998-2020. Pre-specified search terms were used in PsycInfo (EBSCO), PubMed, CINAHL, and Business Source Premier. After removal of duplications, n = 3804 records were entered into Covidence, a web-based systematic review tool. After review of Titles and Abstracts, the team moved 665 studies for Full Text Review. An iterative process included reading full text articles and applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, resulting in 196 studies for data classification and extraction. This symposium is restricted to data extraction and qualitative synthesis from 21 studies implemented in child welfare settings. Papers mapped findings related to four questions (1) what individual, organizational, and training characteristics were related to ToL? (2) What pre or post training reinforcement strategies were examined in these studies? (3) What assessment methods were used to evaluate the degree to which skills were transferred? (4) What specific skills were targeted for ToL in these studies?

Results: Four papers will present findings from the classification of research methods and factors that impact ToL; reinforcement strategies; assessment methods; and targeted skills. Of the n = 21 publications, 17 were conducted in the United States and 4 in the U.K. Study designs were quantitative (n=12) of which 4 were randomized control designs. Six studies used mixed methods and 3 used qualitative methods only. Ten of the studies incorporated the use of ToL reinforcement strategies including coaching (n=3), case consultations (n=3), feedback (n=2), weekly supervision (n=1), use of standardized clients (n=1). ToL was assessed at follow-up including use of observational skills assessments (n=10), audio and/or video recordings (n=6), self-assessments (n=6), composite scores (n=4), surveys (n=3), documentation reviews (n=2), and focus groups (n=1). Overall, the transfer of 26 skills was assessed in the 21 publications. The skills assessed most frequently were engagement (n=14), interviewing (n= 12, out of which n= 7 focused on Motivational Interviewing), and assessment (n=7). Other frequently assessed skills were case management (n=5) and development of a service plan (n=5).

Conclusions and Implications: Reflections from the four papers indicate the importance for employing strong research designs to test specific mechanisms that promote transfer of learning in the real world particularly related to competent and consistent application of skills relevant to child welfare practice.