(in 3.8) A Reflective Account of How Technology Can Support the Learning Experience

Michelle Newberry and Alessandro Soranzo, Sheffield Hallam University

This account reflects on how technology can be used innovatively to support the learning experience. A case study is provided of a seminar taught on the Individual Differences and Abnormal Psychology module of the BSc Psychology course at Sheffield Hallam University.

It can be argued that traditional methods of teaching may not be the most effective way to teach students about the complexity of assessment (e.g. of a patient, offender, etc.). As Ravenscroft (2009) states, experiential learning is the optimum way to learn and it is expected that “students engage more fully with material that closely resembles their future work environment” (Harkins et al., 2011, p.3).

Following a short Powerpoint presentation to introduce the topic of study (antisocial personality traits), a video clip of an infamous serial killer was shown to students. In this clip the offender displays particular personality traits associated with psychopathy/antisocial personality disorder. Before playing the clip students were asked to make notes about which traits they thought the offender possessed (from a list shown on the slides). Following this, students were shown a hypothetical written case study of an offender and they were again asked to note down which of the traits they felt he possessed. Students were then asked to feedback which traits they had noted in both situations and there was a general discussion about what students felt the purpose of the session was. Nearly all students correctly identified that the purpose of the session was to highlight the importance of both dynamic visual assessment of an individual as well as written information. This is consistent with previous studies which have found that different settings offer richer information with which to judge certain traits and that more traits can be more accurately judged when nonverbal expressive behaviour is available (e.g. Naumann et al., 2012). Specifically, students noted that personality traits (e.g. narcissism) were easier to rate from the video clip whereas more behaviourally-based traits (e.g. risk taking behaviour) were easier to rate from the written case study. In conclusion it appears that dynamic visual information and written information are both important for a comprehensive learning experience.