How can we help novice child protection social workers to see situations like experienced practitioners? A randomised controlled trial evaluation of the ShadowBox™ method using pre-recorded video feedback

Conference paper


Whittaker, A., Moser, K., Harvey, D. and Brand, M. (2021). How can we help novice child protection social workers to see situations like experienced practitioners? A randomised controlled trial evaluation of the ShadowBox™ method using pre-recorded video feedback. Naturalistic Decision Making and Resilience Engineering Symposium 2021. Toulouse, France 20 - 24 Jun 2021 Naturalistic Decision Making.
AuthorsWhittaker, A., Moser, K., Harvey, D. and Brand, M.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

Background
Protecting children for abuse and neglect is a complex area of decision-making but frequent staff turnover has meant that many frontline child protection social workers are often relatively inexperienced. The ShadoxBoxTM method is an educational intervention that enables novice practitioners to gain decision-making skills quickly.

Aim:
This study was an RCT evaluation of an educational intervention for novice social workers that used the ShadoxBoxTM method adapted to include pre-recorded video feedback from an expert panel to test whether novice decision making would become more similar to experienced practitioners.

Methods:
The study was an RCT in which participants completed complex scenarios in a computer lab in control and intervention groups. The training method involved participants receiving feedback from highly experienced practitioners at each decision point within the scenarios. The intervention group received pre-recorded video feedback from a panel of highly experienced practitioners while the control group received no feedback.

Participants and Setting
Participants (n=83) were trainee social workers from a London university randomly allocated to control and intervention groups. Data was collected on computer stations using Qualtrics.

Results

Undertaking the scenarios improved both groups but greater improvement was seen in participants who had received video feedback from a panel of experienced practitioners. The results were promising, with participant accuracy increasing by 44% (from 31% to 75%) in the intervention group compared to an increase of 31% (from 32% to 63%) in the control group.
Considerable improvements were noted in both intervention and control groups, which suggest that scenario-based interventions can be a promising educational method as learning is rooted in real life scenarios and participants have the opportunity to reflect upon their decisions.

The qualitative findings are that novice participants make predictable errors, including:
• Making shallow assumptions
• Focusing exclusively on the parents rather than the child.
• Jumping to early conclusions with insufficient information.
Conclusions
• ShadoxBoxTM training appears to be a promising intervention for improving decision making.
• Novices benefitted from having concentrated exposure to complex scenarios focused on assessing risk and making professional judgements.
• When this was augmented by direct feedback from a panel of highly experienced practitioners, these benefits were increased considerably.
• The complexity of the scenarios also exposed the novices to real life pressures rather than the simplified versions used in decision research.

KeywordsDecision making; expertise; education
Year2021
PublisherNaturalistic Decision Making
Web address (URL)https://naturalisticdecisionmaking.org/next-conference/
Accepted author manuscript
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Open
Publication dates
Print20 Jun 2021
Publication process dates
Deposited26 Aug 2021
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