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The effect of autobiographical reflection with the use of persuasive technology on the professional identity of social work students

Heukamp, Alexandra (2019) The effect of autobiographical reflection with the use of persuasive technology on the professional identity of social work students.

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Abstract:The multiplicity and dynamic nature of communities and careers require a new and strong professional identity (PI) for healthcare providers, as they have to deal with being in multiple communities and have to learn how they can support their clients in becoming more autonomous. Therefore universities have to teach theoretical knowledge and have to prepare students for the working world. Reflection can be a key process in the development of a PI. Critical reflection can teach students to reflect with nuances, with perspective changes which gives them a focus on their own qualities as a starting professional. Another method for learning to reflect critically and a way to discover the own qualities as a professional is autobiographical reflection, which is about personal experience and analyzing what shaped the individual’s life. The goal of the study was to examine the effect of critical and autobiographical reflection on the PI of social work students and also to analyze the effect of the use of persuasive technology in the reflection course. A randomized trial was conducted with three conditions in the social work study program of a Dutch university of applied sciences. Condition 1 consists of critical reflection with online homework assignments, condition 2 teaches critical reflection in combination with autobiographical reflection with online homework assignments and condition 3 consists of critical and autobiographical reflection in combination with persuasive technology with online homework assignments supported with persuasive technology. Seven different questionnaires were used to examine the PI, and other outcomes, namely: career reflection; internal locus of control; learning motivation; choice certainty; drop out threat and the personal involvement inventory. There were 17 classes with approximately 16 students in each class. 244 second year social work students participated in the study, the mean age was 21 years and as usual in social work classes, more women than men participated in this study. Results showed that the students in both methods, critical reflection alone and critical reflection in combination with autobiographical reflection, showed the same development regarding their PI. Over time from the pre to the post measurement, despite of the three conditions, the social work students strengthened their PI and got more certain about their study choice. The students did not become more motivated about their study, did not reflect more over time, did not reduce the risk to stop studying and also did not strengthen their internal locus of control over time. Additionally, autobiographical reflection in combination with critical reflection made social work students more affectively, but not more cognitively involved in the personal development lessons than the critical reflection course alone. Persuasive technology seems to have no influence on the personal involvement of the social work students. This research adds knowledge about a new study program for social work students, as the combination of critical reflection, autobiographical reflection and persuasive technology is relatively new in this field. Further research is necessary to analyze whether the higher PI scores of the students during the reflection course are definitely due to the reflection courses or whether just studying makes the PI scores stronger. Critical reflection in combination with autobiographical reflection can be a new and attractive way to prepare students for the multiplicity and dynamic nature of communities and careers.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/80016
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