I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends: an Online Learning Community for Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Students and Practitioners

Lauren Tashman, Barry University / Inspire Performance Consulting, USA
Gualberto Cremades, Barry University, USA

Theme: Professional development and mentoring

Program ID: LEC-08A

Presentation: October 3, 2013 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Room: Magnolia


The practice of sport, exercise, and performance psychology is unique (Andersen, Van Raalte, & Brewer, 2001) and the “what” and “why” of service delivery has been more of a central focus in the literature than the “how” (Andersen, 2000). For students this can be problematic, as there seems to be a gap between education and real-world practice. This is evidenced by their initial lack of confidence in their abilities as practitioners as well as their tendency to rigidly apply interventions to their clients (Tod, 2007, 2010); an experience that has been described as being “thrown to the wolves” (Tonn & Harmison, 2004). After graduation, this poses a problem for practitioners as they often experience isolation (Carlstedt, 2012) and may no longer have anyone with whom to discuss their methods of practice, potentially resulting in ineffective consultation (Watson, Lubker, & Van Raalte, 2011). In an effort to fill this gap and engage practitioners, an online learning community was created. A learning community enables collaborative exploration, reflection, and development of ideas and practices in a safe environment (Palloff & Pratt, 2007). It offers a community of practice (Wenger, 2002) consistent with Vygotsky’s (1978) notion that learning comes from working together to construct new knowledge. The Performance Enhancement Training Tool (PETT) offers an environment to practice and hone service delivery skills. It combines the use of case based instruction, encouraging practice with applying knowledge in real world-situations (Mayo, 2002), and reflective practice, which has been suggested to be a critical component of training and practice (Martindale & Collins, 2005). We present a means to engage ourselves more as a community of practice, as we continue to grow as a field and further our knowledge and methods of practice in supporting and advancing lifelong physical and mental well-being through sport, exercise, and performance.

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