How eLearning Is Used To Improve Social Work
Social work helps communities by supporting and protecting the most vulnerable citizens and helping people during the biggest challenges of their lives. However, this noble calling can also be extremely challenging and heartbreaking. A social worker’s empathy can cause problems when the outcome of a case isn’t as good as expected. Many social workers blame themselves and struggle with their emotions and mental health when case outcomes are poor. It’s not possible to prevent every bad outcome in the field of social work. However, some social workers are turning to eLearning to help improve their outcomes and ability to help clients succeed. Here’s how eLearning plays a role in professional development for social work.
How eLearning Plays A Role In Professional Development
1. Online Learning Enhances Social Workers’ Knowledge Of Psychology
Social workers spend much of their careers trying to understand the psychology of the people they serve. Understanding how different people think helps them to come up with solutions that will serve a specific individual or group of individuals. eLearning allows social workers to continually develop their knowledge of psychology. They can take advanced courses and keep up with the latest developments in the field of psychology to become more effective in their own roles.
2. Social Work Encompasses Many Different Situations
Most social workers only spend two years specifically training for their career. Although they learn a lot during a degree program—enough to start working with individuals in the community—there are still a lot of topics that can’t be covered in depth. While people do learn a lot on the job after graduating with a social work degree, it can be overwhelming for a social worker to encounter an unfamiliar situation they don’t know how to handle. Nothing can fully prepare someone for the reality of life as a social worker, but online learning can help fill in the gaps that weren’t covered in the core social work curriculum.
Social workers can learn about niche topics through organizations like the National Association of Social Workers, which offers online continuing education on a wide range of topics, from self-care to supervision and management. Whether a social worker has encountered a particularly challenging case or just wants to improve their knowledge for the benefit of their clients, eLearning helps fill in missing knowledge.
3. eLearning Helps Social Workers Better Serve Vulnerable People
People who get into the social work field truly want to help others. Social workers are motivated to improve their outcomes and better serve vulnerable people through effective case management. Continuing to learn and enhance their abilities allows social workers to adapt their approach to each person they serve and improve each year.
Social workers with a growth mindset are the most successful in their field. It’s very common for social workers to feel guilt or blame themselves for a poor outcome when, in reality, it’s not usually their fault. However, proactively engaging in online continuing education can help social workers feel better equipped to help people as time goes on.
4. Virtual Support Is Growing, eLearning Can Help Social Workers Transition
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many services that were once offered in person went virtual. Social workers had to pivot quickly and learn how to offer virtual support without any preparation. Even now, with the pandemic’s effects waning, virtual services remain an important part of social work. eLearning can help social workers get into the mindset of working with clients virtually. Providing effective services online can be difficult, but social workers can draw inspiration from eLearning to help them create better online services and improve outcomes for clients.
5. eLearning Can Help Protect Social Workers
Depending on where they work, there are a variety of dangers that social workers might encounter on the job. Threats or actual physical violence, verbal abuse, illness, and environmental hazards can all occur during a social worker’s career—or even during a single day. Social workers are also at risk of developing mental health conditions related to the stress of their work. It can be difficult to create boundaries between work and home, which can cause them to develop anxiety and depression. Compassion fatigue is another common and potentially debilitating issue, caused by the secondhand trauma social workers see every day.
eLearning can help make social workers’ jobs safer by helping them learn about a variety of topics relating to safety. Social workers can learn everything from how to respond to a potentially dangerous person to how to practice self-care to prevent burnout. Social work might be a dangerous job, but there are ways to mitigate the risks.
6. Social Workers Need Flexible And Affordable Professional Development Options
Unfortunately, social workers are notoriously overworked and underpaid. To fit professional development into their busy schedules, they need flexible options for learning. eLearning fits the bill perfectly, as people can work at their own pace and pause as needed. Many online courses for social workers are inexpensive or even free. As some social workers already have a hard time making ends meet, having flexible and affordable options for professional development is critical.
7. Understanding Within the Field Continues To Evolve, And So Do Curriculums
It’s important for social workers to understand that the field of social work is always evolving. Researchers are always working to learn more about the human mind and how we can use that knowledge to help people. This is why it’s so important for social workers to stay on top of new developments through eLearning, so that they can implement new techniques and best serve those in their communities.