How to develop your training and education facility
Many professions, such as counselors, teachers, medical staff, and others, require you to have developed the necessary practical skills prior to starting the actual job. In educational or clinical psychology, for example, it is important to be able to observe interactions in a systematic way in order to be able to assess behavior. These skills are defined as core competencies for practitioner’s psychologist training.
Delaware Valley University - Counseling Psychology Master’s Program
At the University of York, Sophie Brigstocke developed case studies to apply theory into training of future clinical practitioners. In an article published in FORUM - the University magazine , it was explained that students, during their training, bridge the theory to practice gap by watching videos of practitioners and recording their own sessions.
First, students were encouraged to watch videos of practicing psychologists working with children multiple times, in order to practice observation skills. Next, students were asked to record a tutorial in order to teach peers how to administer and score a particular standardized test. Isn’t that a great way of putting theory into practice?
The importance of annotating
In the practice videos, the staff had already highlighted significant behaviors in their assessments; they also used pictures and subtitles to guide the watcher (trainee) through the procedures and tests used by the psychologist. The educators explain that these annotations were vital in order to prevent video watching from becoming a passive experience for the students.
Innovative tools to analyze interactions
At the Institute of Educational Management of the University of Mons in Belgium the interaction between a trainee teacher and students is studied to improve teacher practices. Marie Bocquillon uses two labs, an observation lab, where trainee teachers are recorded while giving a lesson to their peer students, and an interaction lab, where the video feedback sessions takes place.
These feedback sessions are conducted based on the video of the trainee’s teaching practice performance that has been annotated by the supervisor. During debriefing, the supervisor and the trainee teacher watch and discuss how the trainee teacher acted during the lesson.
Put theory into practice in a safe and controlled environment
The use of video in education can be very helpful to develop required skills. Toronto’s George Brown Centre for Health Sciences  created a modern simulated learning environment that allows trainees an opportunity to put theory into practice in a safe and controlled environment. Viso software suite allows George Brown faculty to focus on what really matters: providing students with immediate feedback on their skills and practices.
Within the Simulation Centre, trainees will work through a wide range of scenarios in various healthcare settings, including the home environment. From developing therapeutic communication skills, to caring for complex critically ill infants and adults, these scenarios will help prepare trainees for future placement and work opportunities.
How to build an AV lab: questions you should ask
When designing this type of center, it is best to describe the training or educational program in great detail. With greater levels of detail, it becomes clear what kind of equipment will be needed, and which physical environment would best suit the observations, simulation and/or training. Questions that help you are:
- How many trainees do you want to train at the same time?
- Do you need video recordings of all trainees?
- Do participants need to walk around during the training?
- How is security of video material guaranteed? Storing the videos on an external hard drive is insecure (possibility of theft). Storing the videos on a server is more secure. Overall, protecting the sensitive video material is of the highest importance.
- How many rooms are available? A single room training facility can be used, but it is more common to equip multiple rooms with video and audio recording tools to allow more students to train at once. Alternatively, students may rotate the training, where one group of students observes others through a one way mirror, and switches once the first group’s training has ended.
Answering these questions is just a first step in setting up an educational training facility, but it is a necessary one. As discussed above, video and audio data can be of great use in training, but can also be used in further research. For example, comparing multiple training sessions may provide additional insight into training and instruction methods.
Delaware Valley University  has created a state-of-the- art training facility for their Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program. In this program, students specialize in either child and adolescent counseling, or social justice community counseling. Throughout their training, graduate students are continually engaged in counseling, outreach, and advocacy. Check out what they say about the process of designing and building a state-of-the-art training and education facility.
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