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Dr. Bruce Wampold Outlines 3 Methods for Psychotherapists to Continuously Improveby Bruce Wampold on July 5, 2017 Last updated on September 01, 2020
How time flies. I have been researching, practicing and supervising psychotherapy for over 35 years. When I began graduate school Hans Eysenck’s claims that psychotherapy was not effective, and likely harmful, was widely disseminated and believed. To say the least, it was not an optimistic time to be in training to become a psychologist.Read more
How Much Work is it to Use Skillsetter in My Class?
A simple task guide for instructors and studentsby Bruce Wampold on December 8, 2021
Getting started with Skillsetter is easy—but you may still be wondering: How much time and effort does it take instructors to use Skillsetter? What about for students?
Below is a quick list of starting tasks and how much time it takes to complete each.
Skillsetter For Instructors
Here are the tasks for instructors.
1. Create the Skillsetter course (1 to 3 hours)
While creating a course in Skillsetter, instructors must select course modules that correspond to the focus-skills for the course. Skillsetter contains a variety of modules which can easily be imported into your course. It’s also simple to design your own modules for particular skills—the tools for designing modules are found within the platform and are easy to use.
It might take a few hours before the term begins to develop your Skillsetter course, but once it is done it can be used each time you teach the course, with the opportunity for refinement as you go. I have found that creating the course helps to clarify what is missing in my current course. For example, creating a scoring rubric for each skill is critical for teaching this skill in the classroom. In this way, creating the course and teaching the course synergistically improve instruction.
2. Adding students (10 minutes)
To add the students to a course, the instructor adds the student name and email address for each student. Skillsetter automatically sends an invitation email to the student and the instructor will be notified when the student accepts the invitation. It’s that simple.
3. Providing Feedback (5 to 10 minutes)
The instructor reviews student submitted responses and provides feedback using the rubric dedicated for each module. For each submitted response this will take up to 10 minutes—if not less. Keep in mind that this feedback is the critical component of deliberate practice and is the most efficient way that instructors can contribute to student learning. This way of providing feedback does not involve grading papers, reviewing video tapes, meeting with students, and so forth. Instructors with whom I have discussed this have noted that they are thankful to spend time that results in student learning and is remarkably different from “busy work.” Additionally, instructors value the opportunity to observe student performance throughout the term, rather than massed performance at midterm and finals.
Skillsetter For Students
When Skillsetter is integrated into a learning plan, most of the students' time and effort is then spent practicing skills, which results in efficient and effective learning.
1. Student sign up (2 minutes)
When the student receives the invitation, they provide a password (and pay for Skillsetter if that is the payment model). The student then has access to the Skillsetter course for their class.
2. Student Practice (10 to >15 minutes)
The student follows the class instruction for practice. Each practice involves viewing a client video and responding with the corresponding therapy skill for the assigned module. The student then responds to the video, evaluates their response, and repeats this process until they assess that their response competently captures the components of the skill. Students then submit their response to the instructor for review. This practice, which takes from 10 to 15 minutes initially—less as they become more proficient in the skill—can be completed privately at any time when connected to the Internet.
3. Reviewing Feedback (2 to >10 minute)
The final step for the student is to review feedback from the instructor and continue practicing if the instructor deems this is necessary.
Notes and Reflections
I recall many years ago sitting in a hotel lobby grading papers at the end of the semester. As was the general practice in those days (and still is in many classes), I had assigned the students in my graduate class to write a term paper that would be due at the end of the term. I had a tall stack of papers in my lap (this was before students electronically submitted assignments), laboring over the comments I was making on each paper: How much should I write? What types of comments would be most useful? I wanted the comments to be encouraging, but many were quite frankly unuseful.
It was a time-consuming process—the papers were lengthy, and in an effort to be helpful to students, I provided what I thought were reasonably frequent comments. And then it occurred to me to question the cost-effectiveness of this endeavor. Were the students even reading the comments? And if they were, did my feedback actually result in improvement? Teaching takes time and effort. Evaluation and feedback is certainly a part of the role. That said, I really don’t want to spend time and effort unless student learning and improvement resulted.
My epiphany in the hotel lobby led me to change the way I taught my classes—assign frequent homework, provide feedback, and have students refine their work until their performance was competent. This was the beginning of my adoption of deliberate practice as a framework for learning content, becoming a better writer, and most importantly acquiring the necessary skills to be an effective therapist.
Let’s Get Started
Get a demo to see if the Skillsetter is right for your class. The time and effort needed to get Skillsetter integrated into your class to give actionable student feedback will pay dividends in student development and skill acquisition.