Psychology and counselling
Communicating psychological theory with Adobe Spark: Applications in undergraduate and postgraduate assessment 
Ben Bullock & Chris Ludlow 

This project developed new assignments for postgraduate counselling and undergraduate psychology students to assess their skills in applying psychological theory to real-world scenarios. The Adobe Spark suite of applications are used by students in their assignments to produce evidence-based and theory-informed psychological education materials to promote behaviour change in target populations. The project developed assignments and resources to support the students’ developing technology literacy that they can then apply in professional contexts, both now and in future graduate employment.
Resources
In small groups, students produce theory-informed psychoeducational materials that aim to motivate behaviour change in others and support counselling practice. All of these resources relating to this project are available to access or download by Swinburne staff via Commons and include the following: 
Undergraduate resources
•  Lesson Plan
Postgraduate resources
These resources are also available on the Adobe Education Exchange (link coming soon!)
Findings
Problem 
Promoting behaviour change and the use of evidence-based strategies are key learning outcomes of psychology and counselling curricula. One way to apply evidence-based psychological theory to promote behaviour change is through psychological education. Essentially, psychological education concerns the translation of sometimes complex psychological theory into accessible and user-friendly formats that can be understood and used by lay people. The dissemination of evidence-based psychological theory in an accessible manner and in user-friendly formats has been shown to support behaviour change at both the individual and community level. Increased use of online and digital technologies in the dissemination of evidence-based psychological theory is particularly noticeable in recent years. While psychology and counselling students learn about psychological theories to promote behaviour change, they do not currently engage with software in their courses which would allow them to develop media to share this information. The current project developed new assignments for the undergraduate psychology and postgraduate counselling programs with the aim of encouraging students to engage with digital technologies to produce theory-informed educational resources to promote behaviour change in their target audiences. 

Overview 
We designed new assignments for undergraduate psychology and postgraduate counselling students to assess their skills in applying psychological theory to real-world scenarios. For their assignments, students use the Adobe Spark (Adobe Creative Cloud Express) suite of applications to produce evidence-based and theory-informed psychological education materials to promote behaviour change in a specified target audience. The assignments were designed to support the development of technology literacy, which students can then apply in professional contexts, both now and in future graduate employment.

Emergent Outcomes 
The undergraduate psychology students will design a poster that aims to encourage action towards behaviour change in a specified target audience. They will apply their understanding of individual differences in motivational dispositions to promote behaviour change in their target audience. The poster must demonstrate creativity to draw attention, include content that appeals specifically to the target audience, and provide a ‘call to action’ element that encourages an appropriate first action to take towards behaviour change. 
The postgraduate counselling students will design a therapeutic resource to be used in counselling that aligns with the needs of the client and that is informed by psychological theory taught in the unit. Examples include in-session counselling worksheets, educational handouts, and self-help materials for a website or online video.  
The new assignments for both units include re-designed student handouts and assessment rubrics. Students in both units will also work in small groups on their assignment. Working in groups is an important professional skill – students will learn to assess the nature and difficulty of a task, break the task down into steps or stages, plan a strategy, manage time, reach consensus, solve conflict, and integrate the contribution of multiple team members (Source: Learning Transformations Unit)

Digital Literacies 
The broad aim of developing these new assignments was to increase the technology literacy of the students. The level of literacy around digital technologies was expected to vary greatly between individuals in both the undergraduate and postgraduate student cohorts. We decided, therefore, to design the assignments using Adobe Spark (Adobe Creative Cloud Express) so that even those students with lower levels of technology literacy can successfully engage with this entry-level program. The students with higher baseline levels of technology literacy have scope to further develop their ideas and outputs with more complex functionalities. Nevertheless, with any new technology, there is a learning curve that both cohorts of students will need to negotiate with the support of the unit teaching staff and existing Adobe support mechanisms. 
The assessment rubrics for both units incorporate a common criterion for addressing technology literacy with students being assessed on their “ability to use a digital tool to achieve a communication outcome”.  

Learnings
A shared focus on improving technology literacy among students in both undergraduate and postgraduate cohorts guided the development of the new assignments. Nevertheless, differing student and unit characteristics meant that the assignments for each group needed to diverge in order to serve their specific needs. 
For pragmatic reasons, the undergraduate students are restricted to using Adobe Spark (Adobe Creative Cloud Express) Post for their assignments whereas the postgraduate students can choose from any of the Spark Post, Page, or Video applications for their assignments. The restriction applied to the undergraduate cohort is due to the larger number of students enrolled in this unit and the need to standardise the assignment parameters for marking purposes. 
The assignment outcomes also serve different purposes for each group. The undergraduate group will be able to employ their newly learned skills in graduate work that requires them to produce psychoeducational materials intended to encourage action towards positive behaviour change in others. The postgraduate group will be able to use these skills in their professional practice to produce high quality digital resources for their clients, including psychoeducational handouts, online videos discussing the behaviour change process, or websites that contain self-help materials. 
Despite these differences in assignment characteristics, the core focus in each unit on improving technology literacy among both undergraduate and postgraduate student cohorts means they will benefit enormously from engaging with Adobe Spark for these new assignments.  

Impact data 
Impact data coming soon.
You will nee d to submit impact data from your student surveys undertaken at the start and end of your project. Please ensure you communicate any specific findings from this data. This can be any length but as above, less is usually more!

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