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ERIC Number: ED562528
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Reference Count: 22
Teaching Social Skills: An Effective Online Program
Sanchez, Rebecca P.; Brown, Emily; DeRosier, Melissa E.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Educators, policymakers, and the general public agree that social skills should be taught to children. In an effort to bridge this gap between evidence-based social skills training and populations in need, the authors have developed an Intelligent Social Tutoring System (ISTS) that fosters learning through adaptive interaction between the student and the program. As the student interacts with the program, the software responds by presenting the most appropriate content, much the same way a human tutor would. The purpose of Study 1 was to determine whether children with social skills deficits would find a prototype of the intervention likeable and usable, and whether children who interact with the prototype show reduced psychosocial distress and greater behavioral and emotional strength compared to children who do not interact with the program. The purpose of Study 2 was to replicate and extend the findings of Study 1 to the fully developed program and demonstrate its efficacy on a broader set of academic and social skills outcomes. In both studies, the intervention was delivered completely online. Children interacted with all aspects of the program at home via our secure project webpage. The results of Study 1 show strong support for using an online social skills training to improve emotional, behavioral, and psychosocial outcomes for children with social skills deficits. The authors expect the findings of Study 2, available by the conference date, to support and expand these findings. By integrating developmental theory, research, computer science, gaming theory, and appealing graphics, they created an engaging and effective interactive social tutoring system for social skills training. This methodology has the potential to overcome many of the barriers of traditional methods and can deliver services much more broadly than existing methodologies. Online programs can be made available to any individual or organization (e.g., schools, mental health providers, community/youth groups) and can be used in any setting with a computer. This widespread availability means that online social skills training programs can close the gap between proven interventions and their use by those most in need, which has important implications for fostering optimal development for children at risk for poor social, emotional, and academic outcomes. Tables are appended.
Descriptors: Interpersonal Competence, Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Online Courses, Electronic Learning, Computer Software, Intervention, Behavior Development, Emotional Development, Psychological Patterns, Stress Variables, Web Sites, Statistical Analysis, Children, Questionnaires, Likert Scales
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)