Workshops are commonly used to up-skill staff and their usefulness can be determined by measuring whether or not learning needs have been met and, in particular, whether attitudes have changed. In the field of mental health, sensory modulation workshops have been introduced to educate staff about preventative measures that reduce the use of seclusion and restraint for service users with challenging behaviours. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the impact of such a workshop.
A one-day workshop was developed based on a review of the literature and feedback from previous workshops, and with input from an industry-based reference group. An evaluation tool was designed to measure the learning outcomes, i.e., the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of the 23 participants. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS v20) was used to analyse the data. Multi-variate analysis of variance was used to determine the relationship between variables.
A significant increase in the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of mental health staff was identified after the one-day workshop (F=106.346, df=1, p<0.000). When considering which participants showed most benefits, it was shown that the demographics had no effect, i.e., education level, practice discipline, years of work experience in mental health, and previous sensory modulation training.
Measuring learning outcomes provides essential information about whether or not the learning objectives have been met. This allows future workshops to be tailored to ensure that the learning opportunity is at the correct level for the learners. More traditional evaluations that elicit the views of the content covered and teaching methods should additionally be used to supplement this information.
Workshops are often evaluated on the basis of the participants’ subjective response to a quick questionnaire. Developing a tool to measure outcomes is a more effective way to determine what has been learned and to ensure that positive outcomes for individuals and their organisations can be reached.
Azuela, G. and Robertson, L. (2016), "The effectiveness of a sensory modulation workshop on health professional learning", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 11 No. 5, pp. 317-331. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-08-2015-0037Download as .RIS
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