Reflective-action learning in the Social Work Undergraduate Program

Principal Supervisor

Professor Lam Ching Man, Department of Social Work


2 years & 4 months

Approved Budget

HK $250,000

  • Project Objectives
  • Key deliverables expected
  • Evaluation of deliverables/outcomes
  • Dissemination of deliverables/outcomes

Project Objectives

  • To incorporate experiential and reflective learning experiences into three courses of the new four-year Social Work Undergraduate program, namely STOT I, Social Work Field Laboratory and Social Work Pre-placement induction training;

  • To enhance the personal and professional growth of social work undergraduate students;

  • To test the “Reflective-Action” learning approach adopted by this project; and

  • To use the time-series study design for process and outcome evaluation.

  • Key deliverables expected and timelines for completion

    The project incorporates the “Reflective-Action” learning approach into three courses of the new four-year social work curriculum, namely STOT I, Social Work Field Laboratory and Social Work Pre-placement induction training (non-credit bearing course). Taking the characteristics and needs of the students (i.e. a year younger and likely to be less mature when compared to the three-year students, uncertainty about career choice), as well as the changing context (i.e. a four- year curriculum with an additional year, offering of new programs and a more flexible system resulting in more choices/difficulty in making choice on the students side) into consideration, the project adopts small group teaching format and an “Reflective-Action” learning model for course design, and with an aim to develop students personally and professionally.

    In order to achieve the above mentioned objectives, the following major deliverables are planned. The following table summarized the key deliverables and work progress:
    Key deliverables Expected completion date Work progress
    Individual session for students to meet with the STOT instructor to talk about matters related to his or her personal growth, adjustment to university life, and issues related to the social work profession, etc. End of January 2013 Completed
    Field visit to offer a platform for students to have direct contact with service users, and to hear their voice End of January 2013 Completed: All year one students joined the visit to Shek Kwu Chau Drug Rehabilitation Centre
    A three days field attachment (non-credit bearing) in social welfare agency that allows students having better exposure to social problems and to develop sensitivity End of April 2013 In progress – All Year 1 students are divided into 12 groups and has been matched with 12 social welfare agencies. Field attachment is now in progress
    Debriefing sessions using the “reflective practice” paradigm that stress the reflexivity of students On going In progress – One debriefing session has been conducted
    On online aptitude test kit to help students reflect on their role as a university student pursuing a career in social work; March 2013  
    Online video clips on social and value issues with interactive discussion July 2013  
    Online learning materials related to field attachment July 2013  
    Online resource package contains government policy papers, special and innovative projects, and other reference materials Jan 2014  

    Arrangements for evaluation of project deliverables/outcomes

    Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model is adopted to develop the evaluation framework with four interlocking domains, namely student reactions, learning, behaviour and results. The outcome indicators for the project are:
  • students’ critical thinking ability, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and communicative competence;
  • their reflective acquisition of the social work values, knowledge, and skills; and
  • their commitment to protect the welfare of the vulnerable groups and pursue social justice.
  • “A time series non-equivalent comparison group design” will be adopted to assess the outcomes and continuous impacts of the “Reflection-Action” learning model. A structured questionnaire containing instruments that measure the above areas will be used to collect pre, post and interval (at an interval of every 6 months) data from students of both four-year and three-year programmes (the comparative group).

    Plan for evaluation and work progress is summarized as follow:
    Evaluation strategies Expected completion date Work progress
    Pilot test of baseline questionnaire August 2012 Completed with 53 students*
    Baseline data obtained from year 1 students of both the 3 and 4 year program August 2012 Completed with 108 questionnaires and initial analysis done
    To collect interval data to track the progress of students At a interval of around every 6 months The next interval data to be collected will be in End of Feb, 2013.
    Subjective process assessment survey with students of the four year program May 2013;
    May 2014
    One focus group with agency persons who offering field attachment April-June 2013  
    Two focus groups to collect feedback from students to explore their learning needs and experiences May 2013;
    May 2014
    Collect feedback from students On-going process In progress

    *Baseline data has been collected before the approval of project for the purpose of having a complete set of data from this new cohort of students

    Means for disseminating project deliverables/outcomes

    Plan for disseminating project deliverables is as follow:
    Evaluation strategies Expected completion date Work progress
    Presentation and sharing session by students after the field attachment: agency person and service users will be invited to comment on students’ presentation and to nominate the best presentation for video production June 2013  
    Round table sharing sessions with colleagues of other institutions/ departments. July – Oct 2014  
    Placing all the major deliverables in the department website Dec 2014  

    The work progress of this project is on the right track. Deliverables are achieved as planned and according to schedule as proposed. Positive feedbacks are obtained in preliminary evaluation with students. Students revealed that the experience of agency visit sensitize their understanding to the needs of service recipients, enhance their understanding to social work profession and the social service delivery system. The “reflective-action” experiences including direct encounter with service users, followed by reflective logs and debriefing group discussions, all are valuable understandings supportive to their personal and professional self.

    With a part-time Research Assistant resumes duty in February 2013, the project is expected to have good progress with improved manpower.