Global Mental Health: Trauma and Recovery mastery certificate program: Assessment of the impact of the community of practice on learning
Sam Catherine Johnston, Harvard University, United States
Harvard University . Awarded
This study is the first to examine the use of the community of practice learning paradigm for teaching masters/PhD/MD-level health and mental health professionals to improve their work with refugees, asylum seekers, and local populations in post-conflict countries. The study examined a new professional development program, the Global Mental Health Program (GMH Program). The GMH Program taught professionally and personally challenging concepts through the use of the community of practice learning paradigm. A community of practice is: “a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and who learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wenger, 2007, para. 4). The GMH Program is delivered through blended learning, which combines virtual and face-to-face delivery methods. The study utilized design-based research, which includes design and evaluation of design elements, to test its innovations (Dede, 2005). The sample consisted of 46 students in the GMH Program. The general hypothesis tested was that greater involvement in a community of practice leads to better learning outcomes. Simple evaluation measures, some previously developed and validated, and others designed by the investigator, were given to all respondents, pre and post-training. The major outcome measures include (1) increased confidence in clinical and policy work and (2) improvement in self-care. The major predictor variable is involvement in the community of practice. Through multiple regression methods, I found that, on average, greater involvement in the community of practice led to better outcomes in confidence and self-care. There were important differences by several participant characteristics, including whether or not one was in a clinical profession or held an MD degree, the percentage of time the participant spent working with cases of extreme violence, and predisposition to learn socially. Results showed that the community of practice relied on the diversity of the student body in mastering skills to aid work that is extremely challenging personally and professionally.
Johnston, S.C. Global Mental Health: Trauma and Recovery mastery certificate program: Assessment of the impact of the community of practice on learning. Ph.D. thesis, Harvard University.
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