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P. Nottingham Chaplin, G. E. Bradford; Training Methods Most Valued by Community-Based Preschool Vision Screening Trainees. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):4882.
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A typical method for detecting vision problems in young children is community-based vision screening. However, if vision screeners are insufficiently trained, their ability to effectively screen vision may be diminished. Insufficient training may also lead to an overabundance of "uncooperative" and "untestable" results. Through hands-on, face-to-face workshops, the Vision Initiative for Children (VIC) at the West Virginia University Eye Institute has trained, equipped, and supported more than 1,000 lay screeners since 2001. The purpose of this study was to determine the aspects of VIC’s workshop that participants value, aspects that were most helpful during subsequent vision screening activities, and aspects that met participants’ preferred method for learning new information.
Through a WVU IRB-approved screener-oriented evaluation approach, evaluations from all individuals (502) attending 43 workshops from September 2001 through October 2003 were analyzed to determine the screeners’ perspective of VIC’s workshop. Additionally, postworkshop questionnaires were mailed to 20 participants with 4 months of screening experience. Postworkshop evaluations were designed to solicit responses about the workshop after screeners implemented the information and skills they learned. Participants for both questionnaires included primary care practice nurses and Head Start providers.
Open-ended responses from 421 trainees regarding aspects of VIC’s training indicated they valued the workshop format and opportunity for hands-on practicing of screening material. The general training format was cited (155/421) as the most appreciated aspect of the training. The second most frequently cited feature (145/421) was the opportunity for hands-on practice. 5 of 8 (63%) participants completing the postworkshop evaluation indicated that hands-on training was most helpful during subsequent vision screening activities. Practicing the screening test was the primary preferred method for learning new information for 7 of the 8 (88%) postworkshop evaluation participants.
Results suggest that preschool vision screening workshop participants value hands-on training and believe such training is beneficial for subsequent vision screening activities. These results have implications for vision screening training methodologies (e.g., web sites, videos, and print materials) that exclude opportunities for interaction and live, face-to-face, hands-on practice.
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