Strategies for Engaging Students:
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Strategies for Engaging Students: Comprehending, Applying, & Analyzing Evidence-based Methods in PSR Higher Ed. David Merlo, MS, CPRP, COTA - SUNY/ECC, Julie Welkowitz, PhD - Southern NH University, Charlie Bernacchio, EdD, CRC - UNC at Chapel Hill.

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David Merlo, MS, CPRP, COTA - SUNY/ECC, Julie Welkowitz, PhD - Southern NH University,

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Strategies for Engaging Students: Comprehending, Applying, & Analyzing Evidence-based Methods in PSR Higher Ed

David Merlo, MS, CPRP, COTA - SUNY/ECC,

Julie Welkowitz, PhD - Southern NH University,

Charlie Bernacchio, EdD, CRC - UNC at Chapel Hill

EBP Teaching Strategies-Workshop Objectives

  • Describe several theories that guide effective adult education, applicable to PSR practitioner education.

  • Articulate several advantages of utilizing person-centered experiential learning methods.

  • Apply adult learning theories to create at least one experiential learning activity for classroom instruction, reflective of evidence-based strategies.

EBP Teaching Strategies-Overview

  • Share exemplary learning activities used in PSR education/training (Pre-/In-/Admin)

  • Examine Bloom’s theoretical framework

  • Review evidence-based context and strategies for teaching/training

  • Develop learning activities congruent with EBP strategies

Evidence-based Workforce Development Strategies for Evidence-based Practices in Mental Health (SAMHSA/HSRI) report (Leff et al. 2007)

College-level educators are-

  • Experts in specific content areas.

  • Non-experts in teaching methodology.


TraditionalPost-secondary Education

HSRI report (Leff et al, 2007) raises concerns-

  • Didactic v. dialectic/interactive learning

  • Passive v. active learners

  • Memorization v.creative&critical thinking

  • Textbook knowledge v. practicalapplication

EB WorkforceDevelopment Report(Leff et al, 2007)

  • Need to train learners to be creative and critical thinkers

  • Prepare for competency with practical application to mental health field

  • Evidence from research reveals several theoretical frameworks linked to effective teaching/training best practice

EB Workforce Development Report

  • Constructivist theory

  • Experiential/Situated Cognition Learning

  • Adult Learning theories

  • New Economy theories

  • Organizational/Systems theories

  • Social Equity theories

  • Social Marketing/Academic Detailing

“Training-As Usual” (Leff et al, 2007)”

  • Bloom’s Taxonomy:

  • Evaluation

  • Synthesis

  • Analysis

  • Application

  • Comprehension

  • Knowledge

    • Ineffective in changing practitioner behavior or consumer outcomes

      (Sholomskas et al., 2005)

    • Effective in knowledge acquisition

      (Cook, Horton-O’Connell, Fitzgibbon, & Steigman, 1998; Sholomskas et al., 2005)

    Bloom’s Taxonomy

    EVALUATION (evaluating)

    Description: Justifying a decision or course of action.

    Actions: hypothesizing/critiquing/experimenting/judging efficacy

    SYNTHESIS (creating)

    Description: Generating new ideas/products/ways of viewing things.

    Actions: designing/constructing/planning/producing/inventing

    ANALYSIS (analysing)

    Description : Breaking information into parts to study relationships.

    Actions: comparing/organizing/deconstructing/interrogating/finding

    APPLICATION (applying)

    Description : Using information in another familiar situation.

    Actions : implementing/carrying out/using/executing

    COMPREHENSION (understanding)

    Description : Explaining ideas or concepts.

    Actions: interpreting/summarizing/paraphrasing/classifying/explaining

    KNOWLEDGE (remembering)

    Description : Recalling information.

    Actions: recognizing, listing, describing, retrieving, naming, finding

    Higher ' Order Thinking

    EBP Training Strategies-1.Train participants with competency-based materials developed by stakeholders

    • Consumer and provider input/advisory board input re: competencies

    • Ensuring curriculum/syllabi reflect competency areas

    • Student portfolios reflecting all competency areas

    EBP Training Strategies- 2.Use of facilitative educational materials for individualizing the training

    • Self-Assessments

    • Internships based on individual needs and goals (as derived from self-assessments)

    • Assignment choices within courses

    EBP Training Strategies- 3.Training is conducted by credible instructors

    • Instructors who have some applied field experience

    • Guest speakers with expertise in particular areas

    • Consumers or family members as instructors/guest speakers/panelists

    EBP Training Strategies- 4.Training curriculum integrates academic concepts and technical competencies

    • Applied assignments/reflective paper/journals

    • Papers that ask students to apply real life experiences to theories

    • Video taping of doing the work in "real settings" and then discuss in class how theory applies

    • Practicum/internships/job shadowing

    EBP Training Strategies-5.Prepare learners to use active inquiry & to develop/apply knowledge to real life problems

    • Use of case examples generated by students for in-class activities

    • Assignments using analysis/problem solving

    • Practicing the skills in real settings or role plays (eg diagnostic intakes, practicing clinical skills)

    • Considering how to make systems change in current or previous work settings

    EBP Training Strategies-6.Instructional methods involves training in teams and groups

    • In-class activities: group problem-solving, group diagnostic decision-making, team debates, group discussions

    • Use of reflecting team models

    • Group assignments

    EBP Training Strategies-7.Participants are trained in skills for life-long learning

    • Learning how to find needed resources (eg developing a handbook or website of community resources; learning how to use databases, the library)

    • Seeking out mentors/supervision; supervision groups

    EBP Training Strategies-8.Delivery of workforce training through educational outreach in community and at work

    • Trainings that involve supervisors

    • Involving work supervisors as mentors

    • Providing training at the worksite

    • Team projects that involve the student AND co-workers

    EBP Training Strategies-9.Flexible learning formats and schedules are used to train participants

    • Distance learning/education platforms

    • Hybrid courses (online venues, video-conferencing and face-face instruction)

    • Weekend instruction (e.g., PCMH-one weekend per month)

    • Evening instruction; on-site training

    • Summer/holiday week long institutes

    EBP Training Strategies- 10.Trainers use multifaceted strategies involving two or more individual training strategies

    • Mix of face to face instruction with distance learning strategies (listserves, Blackboard, email, skype)

    • Workshop followed by ongoing technical assistance, consultation, or mentoring

    • Videotaping of applied activities and then use during classroom discussion

    Small Group Activity

    • Apply checklist to individual learning activity

    • Group into Pre-/In-/Admin small groups

    • Identify which learning activity to examine in their group; person shares thoughts on checklist criteria and implications for activity

    • Group provides warm/cold feedback in response to individual’s focus; group brainstorms to enrich the activity respective of the criteria and shares


    • Cook, Horton-O’Connell, Fitzgibbon, & Steigman, (1998)

    • Leff, H.S. et al. (2007). Evidence-based Workforce Development Strategies for Evidence-based Practices in Mental Health, Human Services Research Institute:Cambridge, MA, funded by SAMHSA.

    • Knight, BA., S. Bailey, W. Wearne and D. Brown. (1999). Bloom’s Multiple Intelligences Themes and Activities.

    • Sholomskas et al., (2005). We don’t train in vain: A dissemination trial of three strategies of training clinicians in cognitive behavioral therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(1), 106-115.

    • Martin, J. (2001). Bloom's learning domains. In  B. Hoffman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. Retrieved June 11, 2008, from

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