E-learning professional development resources for families where a parent has a mental illness

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The various e-learning resources for professional development in the area of parental mental illness will be presented and critically reviewed in this chapter. We define professional development (sometimes referred to as in-service training, continuing education, or retraining; Lyon et al., 2011), as the process by which professionals acquire new skills for the workplace. The advantages, primarily around the flexibility that e-learning resources offer, along with some of the problems associated with their uptake and use, will be presented. A newly developed, four-tiered, professional development framework for those working with parents and children where a parent has a mental illness will conclude this chapter. What is e-learning?, E-learning can take various forms, from reading papers or listening to podcasts online, to multimedia modules or courses using text, sound, animation, video, links to other websites, and a variety of interactive elements including a final assessment (Hare, 2009). Various terms have been used to refer to e-learning, including computer-delivered, computer-assis ted, online learning, virtual learning environment, web course tools, and learning management systems (Hare, 2009). While often sourced from a personal computer, other electronic equipment such as MP3 players and mobile phones can also be used. E-learning is increasingly considered to be an efficient way to deliver professional development programs, with some 80% of 642 companies reporting that e-learning is the most popular form of learning technology (Jeske and Stamov-Roßnagel, 2012). Moreover, the internet is becoming the first place that both clients and professionals turn to for information about mental health (Powell and Clarke, 2006). E-learning in its various guises is increasingly used in medical and allied health education (Cook et al., 2009) and is considered by many to be comparable and in some ways superior to face-to-face training. For example, in a study on community education in mental health first aid, Jorm and colleagues (2010) randomly assigned participants to (1) an e-learning CD, (2) a mental health first aid manual, or (3) a wait-list control group. Both the e-learning and the printed manual groups demonstrated increased knowledge and confidence and reduced stigma, compared to the wait-list group. However, those exposed to the e-learning CD held less stigmatizing attitudes to mental illness than those who had been through the printed manual.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParental Psychiatric Disorder: Distressed Parents and their Families
EditorsAndrea Reupert, Darryl Maybery, Joanne Nicholson, Michael Gopfert, Mary V Seeman
Place of PublicationCambridge UK
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages288 - 300
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781107707559
ISBN (Print)9781107070684
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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