Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of providing Web-based information about child maltreatment to undergraduate education and graduate counseling students. The goal was to determine, via an objective test, whether students would gain information about abuse signs and symptoms and reporting laws.
Methods: One hundred and five education and counseling students enrolled in a large, urban, ethnically diverse, university participated in the Web-based training tutorial. Their participation was part of their course requirements. They logged into the Web site using their university identification number and password. The pre and post-tests could only be taken once. Completion of the tutorial took on average 1 hour.
Results: Findings indicated that students' post-test scores were significantly higher than pretest scores on an examination measuring knowledge of child maltreatment signs, symptoms, and reporting procedures. Participants rated their knowledge of child maltreatment significantly higher after taking the tutorial and reported enjoying the self-paced learning of the Web format.
Conclusion: Overall, this study demonstrated the effectiveness of a brief on-line tutorial to disseminate information related to child abuse identification and reporting to future mandated reporters. In approximately 1 hour of on line training, participants gained an increase in knowledge of reporting procedures. Utilization of Web-based training is proposed as an effective and convenient method of instruction particularly for child abuse issues.