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Undergraduate social work students: learning interviewing skills in a hybrid practice class




Barclay, Barbara, author
Makela, Carole J., advisor
Valentine, Deborah P., advisor
Bundy-Fazioli, Kim, committee member
Richburg, Robert W., committee member

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This action research case study explored undergraduate social work students' perceived learning of interviewing skills in a hybrid environment course delivery. The single case study consisted of 19 students enrolled in a practice course blending web-based and face-to-face (f2f) meetings (4 of 15 f2f) within a large urban college. As part of the 15-week course, interviewing skills training constituted a 4-week learning module, with pre and post interviewing skills data collected at the beginning and end of this period. The intentional instructional design for learning interviewing skills used a theoretical perspective of person-in-environment grounded in theories of social constructivism, brain-based learning, and metacognition. Metacognitive activities provided students an understanding of their natural human learning process and included use of reflection to promote self-assessment of skills improvement and competency development. A six-step teaching-learning system (i.e., reading, thinking and writing, watching and discussing, working with cases, practicing, and evaluating) was utilized. In this mixed methods study, quantitative data were collected to identify changes in students' confidence and competency for performing interviewing skills after learning in a hybrid environment, using the Interview Skills Confidence Scale and the Interview Evaluation Rater Scale. Students' guided reflections constituted the qualitative measure (pre, during, and post skills training). Merging the findings of the quantitative and qualitative measures indicated students' increased confidence and competency in their performance of interviewing skills, learned in a hybrid environment. Skill categories of beginning and closing, which reflected the lowest pre confidence and competency scores, showed the most change, post training. Perceived benefits of hybrid delivery included online discussions (learner-centered, reflective dialoguing, active ongoing interaction, and collaboration) and f2f skills practice (personalization) for learning interviewing skills. Use of the web-conferencing tool (Wimba) to practice, record, and evaluate interviewing skills, presented technical difficulties for nearly half of the students. Action research indicated that revisions regarding how students practiced and evaluated skills were needed, such as facilitating more f2f time, alternative ways for skills practice and evaluation online, and/or giving students' choices. Findings suggest the study's measures (confidence, competency, and student reflections) be repeated in the subsequent semester as students' field instruction commences to assess transfer of learned interviewing skills to field (internships).


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competency assessment
confidence assessment
hybrid class
interviewing skills
social work practice
web-based learning


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