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Evaluation of eLearning outcomes- experience from an online Psychotherapy education programme

By Chris Blackmore, Digby Tantam and Emmy van Deurzen


SEPTIMUS is a one-year Europe-wide postgraduate theoretical course for psychotherapists and counselors provided entirely via the internet. It may be used as part of a training course, with face to face elements provided locally, or for continuing professional development. The course was developed at the University of Sheffield in collaboration with psychotherapy training institute partners in seven other European countries. Two studies involving 167 SEPTIMUS students and 60 comparable face-to-face students were undertaken.\ud Study 1- Drop-out rates for the SEPTIMUS programme were found to be low, and comparison between those dropping out and those completing did not highlight any significant factors linked to distance learning. However, students cited Finance, Distance from training centre, Lack of practical experience, Family commitments and the Intensity of their working weeks as having been barriers to taking face-to-face learning courses in the past. \ud Study 2- SEPTIMUS students (eLearners) were compared with students taking comparable attending (face-to-face) theoretical courses also being provided by partners in the project to psychotherapy trainees. Significant differences were found in Distance from training institute and Ability to visit training institute. SEPTIMUS students had higher levels of Computer ownership, Frequency of internet use and IT skills than attenders; these factors when examined in study 1 did not have an impact on the drop-out rate of eLearners.\ud eLearning can overcome barriers to traditional learning in psychotherapy, particularly distance from a training centre, without loss of student satisfaction or student performance. Factors sometimes thought to be obstacles to eLearning, such as IT skills, were not found to be significant barriers, although may have affected recruitment. Certain aspects of eLearning, such as the tendency to facilitate self-disclosure, were found to be very beneficial particularly in the context of psychotherapy programmes

Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2008
OAI identifier:

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