Overall utilization, and relationships and effects of learner self -direction and prior learning in online, competency-based training in the disability supports field
Direct support professionals (DSPs) that support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) take on dynamic and critical roles in developing individual support plans, implementing supports, and assisting people in achieving their individual outcomes. The training and development of DSPs is an important component to easing the many challenges this workforce faces and to the provision of quality community supports. Competency-based training is an instructional model that many disability support organizations have turned to as a way to train DSPs around specific skill and knowledge areas. In recent years, many online instructional programs have also adopted this model. The aim of this study is to understand the extent of use of online competency-based training for DSPs. It also identified a variety of training usage and performance relationships and modeled the effects self-direction, prior learning, and performance on minimal training usage. The study utilized an extant dataset, which included data on learners engaged in at least one online competency-based training that first completed pre-test then a post-tests at the lesson level, between January 2004 to October 2006, the program’s inception. Two samples were analyzed and included every learner in the dataset and every learner completing a pre-designated course. A wide range of observational and descriptive analyses were completed and found learners to use training across every day of the week and every hour of the day. Pearson chi-square analyses regarding overall training use across learners found significant training usage and self-direction variable relationships existed. Spearman rank correlations found a variety of significant relationships between specific performance and self-direction variables of the pre-designated course and prior completed training. Finally, binary logistic regression identified a number of prior learning and self-direction variables that explained the probability that learners would initiate online training in, at least, a minimal amount of time. Put together, these results highlight strengths and challenges to instructional designers developing, and DSPs and organizations using online training with regard learner utilization and self-direction. These results have implications on policies and practices affecting these groups. They also broader implications on the disability service system and people with IDD that receive DSP supports.
0516: Adult education
0710: Educational technology