Effective Home Visiting Training: Key Principles and Findings to Guide Training Developers and Evaluators

Abstract

Purpose Home visiting programs have produced inconsistent outcomes. One challenge for the field is the design and implementation of effective training to support home visiting staff. In part due to a lack of formal training, most home visitors need to develop the majority of their skills on the job. Home visitors typically receive training in their agency’s specific model (e.g., HFA, NFP) and, if applicable, curriculum. Increasingly, states and other home visiting systems are developing and/or coordinating more extensive training and support systems beyond model-specific and curricula trainings. To help guide these training efforts and future evaluations of them, this paper reviews research on effective training, particularly principles of training transfer and adult learning. Description Our review summarizes several meta-analyses, reviews, and more recent publications on training transfer and adult learning principles. Assessment Effective training involves not only the introduction and modeling of concepts and skills but also the practice of, evaluation of, and reflection upon these skills. Further, ongoing encouragement of, reward for, and reflection upon use of these skills, particularly by a home visitor’s supervisor, are critical for the home visitor’s continued use of these skills with families. Conclusion Application of principles of adult learning and training transfer to home visiting training will likely lead to greater transfer of skills from the training environment to work with families. The involvement of both home visitors and their supervisors in training is likely important for this transfer to occur.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (CFDA# 93.505) via a subcontract from the State of Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

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Correspondence to David Schultz.

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Schultz, D., Jones, S.S., Pinder, W.M. et al. Effective Home Visiting Training: Key Principles and Findings to Guide Training Developers and Evaluators. Matern Child Health J 22, 1563–1567 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-018-2554-6

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Keywords

  • Home visiting
  • Training
  • Adult learning principles
  • Training transfer