Embedding a personalised online learning environment in a social work curriculum: opportunities and challenges

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Hughes, M, Gallagher, H & Thompson, LJ 2013, 'Embedding a personalised online learning environment in a social work curriculum: opportunities and challenges' in L Gómez Chova, A López Martínez & I Candel Torres (eds), EDULEARN13: 5th International conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Conference Proceedings, Barcelona, Spain, 1-3 July, International Association of Technology, Education and Development., pp. 5505-5514. ISBN: 9788461638222


This presentation examines the rationale for embedding the online technology, Pebble+, in the curriculum of a new Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying) degree in Australia. This technology has been adopted for two purposes. First, it provides each student with a personalised online learning environment, where they can access and interact with course material, as well as create their own resources (known as assets) to facilitate their learning and demonstrate their emerging capabilities in social work. Second, the technology is used to generate an electronic portfolio, drawing on the assets students have created, for presentation to potential field supervisors and employers. In applying social constructivist pedagogy, the presentation highlights the potential of this technology in supporting the development of critical reflective practice and practice wisdom, as well enabling students to better recognise and articulate what they know and what they can do as emerging social workers. The presentation includes a demonstration of how the technology is used, and a reflection on the challenges involved in the implementation of the initiative, which included overcoming some technical difficulties and dispelling anxieties about using online technology.