E-Learning: Educating the 21st Century Speech-Language Pathologist Even the best crystal ball would not have prepared the profession for the exponential changes brought about by the digital revolution. It took 24 years for 50 million people to use television, but only four years for 50 million people to join the World Wide Web. The electronic world provides ... Academic Edge
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Academic Edge  |   October 01, 2007
E-Learning: Educating the 21st Century Speech-Language Pathologist
Author Notes
  • Gloria D. Kellum, is vice chancellor of university relations and professor of communication sciences and disorders at the University of Mississippi. Contact her at gkellum@olemiss.edu.
    Gloria D. Kellum, is vice chancellor of university relations and professor of communication sciences and disorders at the University of Mississippi. Contact her at gkellum@olemiss.edu.×
  • Sue T. Hale, is director of clinical education and assistant professor of hearing and speech sciences at Vanderbilt University. Contact her at sue.t.hale@vanderbilt.edu.
    Sue T. Hale, is director of clinical education and assistant professor of hearing and speech sciences at Vanderbilt University. Contact her at sue.t.hale@vanderbilt.edu.×
Article Information
Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Academic Edge
Academic Edge   |   October 01, 2007
E-Learning: Educating the 21st Century Speech-Language Pathologist
The ASHA Leader, October 2007, Vol. 12, 24-25. doi:10.1044/leader.AE.12142007.24
The ASHA Leader, October 2007, Vol. 12, 24-25. doi:10.1044/leader.AE.12142007.24
Even the best crystal ball would not have prepared the profession for the exponential changes brought about by the digital revolution. It took 24 years for 50 million people to use television, but only four years for 50 million people to join the World Wide Web. The electronic world provides an opportunity for a paradigm shift from our traditional methods of teaching, learning, and practicing speech-language pathology, a shift made more urgent by critical faculty shortages and the need to maximize existing program resources to prepare speech-language pathologists to deliver services to diverse patient populations in a variety of settings.
ASHA’s Speech-Language Pathology Education Summit in New Orleans earlier this year addressed possible education models as one of the critical questions in shaping the future education of SLPs. A presentation and small-group discussions focused on technology infusion in clinical and academic education.
It will take transformational and collaborative leadership by academic programs, standards programs, and professional organizations to fully utilize technology to prepare SLPs for effective practice in this digital age. Where do blogs, podcasts, search engines such as Google and WebMD, text messaging, Wikipedia, Facebook, MySpace, and Knowledge Map fit into the preparation of and clinical practice delivered by the SLPs in the 21st century?
The science of pedagogy in medicine and health sciences provides some models for efficiently utilizing an array of technologies in academic and clinical preparation. Using a national collaborative approach to undergraduate and master’s degree teaching models that includes elements such as online classes for basic coursework and narrowly focused modules for high-level skills are pragmatic options. Academic programs could shift faculty assignments and expand program offerings. As an example, envision a national curriculum for the speech-language pathology doctorate using a broad-based collaborative technology delivery system that involves local academic and clinical program coordination and oversight. This paradigm shift creates new opportunities for teaching and learning.
One of the greatest opportunities for an immediate impact on training is in the application of technology to clinical education. Skills can be developed and enhanced through learning activities as varied as the imaginations that will create them. Virtual patients, problem-based simulations, downloadable reference materials, and knowledge-tracking systems are a part of some current programs and are the wave of the future. Models already exist that compile all of a medical student’s encounters, including each relevant diagnosis across the training program. Class lectures, papers written, patients seen, and chart data entered are included in these records. This type of real-time documentation facilitates teaching and tracking of learning opportunities. It is easy to envision applying similar technology to SLP training, which would result in immediate answers to questions such as, “Can this student apply knowledge of aphasia to a clinical patient?” or “When has the student gained knowledge or skills with AAC?” These systems will revolutionize tracking of student competencies.
Technology in clinical practice can be used to guide and inspire its expanded use across graduate education. Digital record systems in the medical arena that utilize multimedia systems to document assessment and treatment progress are common. These technologies should be infused in training students to prepare them for the ever-changing systems utilized for documentation and reimbursement.
Some institutions are integrating the newest technologies into their programs. Our interconnectedness challenges us to share these developments to give all students in speech-language pathology training programs the opportunity to access the latest technologies in academic and clinical training. The Learning Object-Exchange, a cooperative venture initiated by the Council of Academic Program in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD), will be a repository for academic programs to create and share innovative teaching tools. Current certification standards allow programs the opportunity to report (in Column E of the Knowledge and Skills Acquisition) “other learning activities,” skill and knowledge development apart from classroom information and knee-to-knee clinical experience. We are limited in what goes into that space only by our imaginations and our willingness to share.
We have a unique opportunity for the next few years. Many very experienced practitioners and academicians are approaching retirement while our colleagues who are beginning their careers have come of age during the digital revolutions. We call on ASHA and CAPSCD to lead the way for collaboration of a national consortium to integrate technology and education across the lifespan for SLPs. Lifelong learning in communication sciences and disorders begins with the bachelor’s degree and continues through retirement.
Join the Web Chat
Share your thoughts on the ideas presented in this article. Through a companion series of Web chats, you can address the questions raised at the conference as part of a national discussion on the historic, current, and emerging challenges and opportunities as we prepare the future SLP. ASHA invites you to participate in an online chat moderated by Jennifer Watson, an SLP Summit advisory committee member, on Oct. 30, 2007, from 7–9 p.m. EDT. At the designated time, visit ASHA Forums.
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October 2007
Volume 12, Issue 14