Best Practices in Distance Education Vocational Rehabilitation Training
Type of Degreedissertation
Rehabilitation and Special Education
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The demand for qualified vocational rehabilitation personnel to improve services to persons with disabilities has resulted in numerous federal initiatives. One outcome is the creation of the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD). The CSPD component under Title III of the Rehabilitation Act mandates the utilization of available technologies to meet the training needs for producing qualified rehabilitation personnel. Distance education, and, specifically, Web-based distance education and accompanying technologies, play an increasingly important role in outreach and instruction. Students associated with the CSPD programs tend to be non-traditional, adult learners. Accordingly, rehabilitation educators need to remain abreast of the best practices regarding theory, technology, and learner characteristics of this group to maximize the potential of distance education. In addition, the importance of identifying educational best practices reaches beyond distance education. The purpose of this research was to identify the collective set of best practices within rehabilitation distance education. Comparison was made between rehabilitation distance education best practices and those identified within the distance education literature. This research was conducted using the Delphi approach in creating a consensus among a panel of CSPD distance education programs regarding best distance education instructional techniques. Results from the Dephi panel were used to measure student opinions regarding online best practices in the corresponding programs. Results suggested significant differences in the areas of technology application, course structure, and accessibility.