Open University of the Netherlands (NETHERLANDS)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN17 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 1955-1959
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1414
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Communication skills courses often contain interactive computer programs in which students individually can practice the skills before practicing them in role plays (e.g. Adema, Edens, Hommes & Kuntze, 2001; Van der Molen et al. 2007). In these programs students watch video examples of these skills, do exercises in which they type their answers and are provided with standard feedback. However, these programs lack a tool to practice spoken communication skills individually online and receive both standard and personalized feedback.

To develop and evaluate an interactive self- and peer observation tool (i-Spot). With i-Spot students practice with and receive feedback on their mastery of spoken communication skills, independent of time and location. In this web based program students see short videos of simulation clients. Students can answer these clients by speaking into the webcam. These answers are recorded and students first can evaluate their own answers. Furthermore, they can send their recorded answers to a protected environment in which fellow students and the tutor can provide them with personalized feedback.

An experimental group of 35 psychology students taking a course in advanced communication skills, used i-Spot in the first part of the training program, before practicing in role plays. A control group of 29 psychology students received the same training but without using i-Spot. We compared the results of both groups on a self-efficacy questionnaire (Hommes, 2006) and a communication skills progress test (Kuntze, Van der Molen & Born; 2007). Furthermore, we asked the experimental group to evaluate i-Spot.

The experimental group experienced the use of i-Spot as stressful, but very instructive, particularly the different forms of feedback provided by i-Spot (average mark 7,9 on a 10-point-scale). The experimental group showed more progress in their self-efficacy in communication skills. This could however be due to a pretest difference, their average self-efficacy was lower than the control group before the training. Finally, the mastery of the communication skills after training was higher for the experimental group than for the control group (t = -4.83, p = .000)

i-Spot appears to improve the mastery of communication skills more than the standard programs. However, further research is needed.

[1] Adema, J., Edens, M., Hommes, M & Kuntze, J. (2001); GEVAT, Selection en Diagnost; De Psycholoog, 10, pag. 514-519.
[2] Hommes, M.A. (2006). Self-instruction in Communication Skills Training for Distance Education. Effects on skills, self-efficacy, motivation and transfer. Ph. D. Dissertation. Rotterdam: Erasmus University
[3] Kuntze, J., Van der Molen, H.T. & Born, M.Ph. (2007). Progress in Mastery of Counseling Communication Skills. Development and Evaluation of a New Instrument for the Assessment of Counseling Communication Skills. 133 European Psychologist. 12 (4). 301-313.
[4] Van der Molen, H.T., Hommes, M.A., Hulshof, C., De Jong, M., Kuntze, J., Mayer, B.M., Osseweijer, E., Pieters, J., Schmidt, H.G., & Soppe, M. (2007). Zelfinstructieprogramma’s voor de Basisaantekening Psychodiagnostiek. In: Schramade, P.W.J. (Red.). Handboek Effectief Opleiden, aanvulling 43. p. 7.4- 10.01 – 7.4-10.13. Den Haag: Reed Business Information.
Communication, skills, assessment, webcam, peer feedback, assessment, video feedback.