Stay with the FLO: evaluating a mobile texting service to enhance social work student retention while on placement

Boath, Elizabeth and Simcock, Peter and Watts, Richard and Thomas, Nigel and Evans, Jayne and Taylor, Lisa and O'Connell, Phil (2018) Stay with the FLO: evaluating a mobile texting service to enhance social work student retention while on placement. Social Work Education. pp. 1-15. ISSN 0261-5479

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Practice placements are a trigger point for social work students dropping out of university. This small pilot study, explores the use of ‘FLO’, an automated text message service, to support social work students on their 70-day placement. Participants were asked to complete a FLO evaluation questionnaire and to attend a focus group to explore their experiences. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis of focus group transcripts. Five key themes emerged: student retention, sense of belonging and attendance; importance of the initial text message; frequency of FLO text messages and reminders; stopping the FLO and the future potential of FLO. Student retention was 100% during the placement period. Issues concerning the costs incurred by participants when sending reply text messages were also evident. The authors conclude that FLO, or other similar mobile technologies may be a useful addition to approaches to improve undergraduate social work student retention rates during placement. However, the correct focus and student involvement in designing the content of the text messages is critical.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
22 April 2018Published Online
4 March 2018Accepted
15 September 2017Submitted
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-04 - health and social care > CAH15-04-01 - social work
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > School of Education and Social Work
Depositing User: Peter Simcock
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2018 08:46
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:55

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