8. Participant Support: Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Psychological Change

If we view learning as a process of psychological change, i.e. beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviour, we see that there are specific conditions that must be met in order for change to be possible. Carl Rogers identified six conditions that are necessary and sufficient for psychological change (Rogers, 1957). In an online cognitive apprenticeship learning environment model, we can interpret and adapt these as:

  1. The practitioners are in psychological contact.
  2. Novice practitioners understand that they have a deficit of the knowledge, skills, and abilities that would enable them to study and collaborate effectively online.
  3. Proficient practitioners have already sufficiently developed these knowledge, skills, and abilities.
  4. Proficient practitioners experience unconditional positive regard for the novice practitioners, i.e. “that there are no conditions of acceptance, no feeling of ‘I only like you if you are thus and so’ and ‘It is at the opposite pole of a selective evaluating attitude.’” (Rogers, 1957)
  5. Proficient practitioners experience empathic understanding of the novices’ internal frame of reference and endeavours to communicate this experience to them.
  6. The communication to the novice practitioners of the proficient practitioners’ empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard is, to a minimal degree, achieved.

The core team of the department/programme/institute will, more than likely, need to act as leaders, guides, and counsellors to ensure that these necessary and sufficient conditions for psychological change are met at all times.

Additionally, all participants will have multiple methods and media, e.g. email, telephone, text, audio and video conferencing, chat, private messaging, and issue reporting systems, through which to contact the core team for support in addressing issues ranging from technical, e.g. being unable to log-in, to interpersonal relationships, e.g. a dispute between practitioners. I am assuming that host colleges and universities will already have policies, structures, and procedures in place for equitable and just treatment of participants, accessibility, complaints and grievance procedures, etc. with which the department/programme/institute must be aligned.

Online Cognitive Apprenticeship Model

  1. Programme Aims and Objectives
  2. Organisational Structure and Context
  3. Programme Participants
  4. The Cognitive Apprenticeship Model
  5. Example Activities/Tasks
  6. Programme Delivery and Integration
  7. Evaluation and Assessment
  8. Participant Support: Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Psychological Change
  9. The Programme as an Agent of Change
  10. References