Teaching Social Skills

Teaching Social Skills

Graham Bodie (Purdue University, USA), Margaret Fitch-Hauser (Auburn University, USA) and William Powers (Texas Christian University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-503-2.ch711


The ubiquity of instructional technology necessitates a more critical look at the theories that drive adoption and the practical implications of its usage. Blended learning has been offered as one compromise to fully online learning or strict adherence to traditional lecture-based instruction that seems outdated. A particular approach to blended learning is examined in the present chapter through the use of an online learning system. Concept Keys was developed to assist instructors of social skills in breaking down these abstract concepts into manageable units of information appropriate for daily delivery via email. This program is shown to be easily integrated into existing curriculum through two studies. A concluding section attempts to tie these studies together and suggests potential limitations and avenues for future research.
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Chapter Objectives

The reader will be able to:

  • Understand the pedagogical goals driving the development of Concept Keys (CK)

  • Understand the key elements of the CK system

  • Identify two specific ways in which CK can aid in the teaching of specific social skills

  • Determine the usefulness of the CK approach to his or her pedagogical needs


Background: E-Learning, Social Skills, And Concept Keys

E-learning can refer to a wide range of online learning protocol. Systems can be created that allow individuals to self-manage their learning or that blend online and face-to-face instruction to greater or lesser degrees. Datamonitor (2004, July 14) predicts the global e-learning market for higher education to grow at a rate of 12% between 2004 and 2008. This growth has necessitated a more critical look at the theories that drive technology adoption and the practical implications of instructional technology usage. Intuitively, technology should not be utilized for its own sake; instead usage should be grounded in specific goals and objectives (see Moore, 2005). This translates to practical considerations of which types, how, and how often specific technologies will be used and in what combinations. Backing such claims, research suggests that, when grounded in pedagogical goals and objectives, technology has the potential to enhance learning outcomes (e.g., Dean, Stahl, Sylwester, & Pear, 2001; DeLacey & Leonard, 2002; Rainbow & Sadler-Smith, 2003). Conversely, using technology can impede the learning process if used poorly (Derntl & Motschnig-Pitrik, 2005; Sellnow, Child, & Ahlfeldt, 2005). Still other studies have found that students have certain expectations of instructor use of technology prior to the first day of class; violating these expectations can have deleterious effects on student learning (e.g., Witt & Schrodt, 2006).

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