It's up to you-the need for self-directed learning for social work students on placement during Covid-19

Zuchowski, Ines, Cleak, Helen, Croaker, Sandra, and Bentley-Davey, Jo (2022) It's up to you-the need for self-directed learning for social work students on placement during Covid-19. British Journal of Social Work, 52 (5). pp. 2875-2893.

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Covid-19 in 2020 took social work programs by surprise and for many students, an e-placement was offered as the only alternative learning opportunity to complete their placement that year. In this paper we report on a mixed method study with data collected via an online survey with quantitative and qualitative questions exploring students’ experiences in e-placements. Eighty-two students who had undertaken an e-placement responded to the survey that was sent to 1500 social work students enrolled in 21 Australian universities.

The results summarise demographic data about the students and a description of the e-placements used, as well as qualitative themes about the students' experiences and recommendations about e-placements. Four themes were prominent in the qualitative data; "opportunities for flexible learning but can be challenging", "Learning new skills but missing out on others", "drive your own learning" and "the need for structure, support and connection". Most students reported that they learnt a range of social work skills, but this required them to take initiative to ensure that learning occurred. The implication for social work education underscores the importance of future proofing social work field education through examining the learning and providing proactive support and clear structures for alternatives to traditional placements.

Item ID: 69795
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1468-263X
Keywords: Covid-19, Field education, remote learning, online learning, research placements; self-directed learning
Copyright Information: Published Version: The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved. Accepted version may be made open access in an Institutinal Repository after a 24 month embargo.
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2021 23:50
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4409 Social work > 440903 Social program evaluation @ 100%
SEO Codes: 16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1601 Learner and learning > 160102 Higher education @ 40%
16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1603 Teaching and curriculum > 160301 Assessment, development and evaluation of curriculum @ 40%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280123 Expanding knowledge in human society @ 20%
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