Interactive Social Tutoring System for Social Skill Training with Elementary Students

Goal Two

Project Info

Project Description

ID: R305A110583, Awarded to Center for Research in Emotional and Social Health (CRESH)
TERM: 07/11 – 06/15

Relatively little is known about how interactive software technology can be used to enhance students’ social skills or peer relations. This project extended prior work by the co-PIs to fully develop an innovative computer-based interactive social tutoring system (ISTS), Adventures Aboard the S.S. GRIN, for elementary students experiencing social-behavioral problems at school and tested the feasibility of this new intervention as well as documented evidence of its promise for enhancing student outcomes compared to typical social skills training methods. The Adventures Aboard the S.S. GRIN intervention package includes interactive software for students, a provider manual, and web-based professional development and implementation support tools for school providers. The Adventures Aboard the S.S. GRIN software provides a safe, private social learning environment through which students engage in tailored, interactive exercises to learn and practice social skills that parallel those taught through an existing evidence-based small group social skills training intervention (SSGRIN). In addition to enhancing students’ social literacy, interactions with the ISTS is tracked by the software so school providers can document a student’s progress made towards specific measureable social goals. The full set of Adventures Aboard the S.S. GRIN intervention materials was created during the project’s first two years. To ensure the ISTS software operated as intended, development proceeded through a systematic iterative “development-revision-testing” process for creating and refining modules with 3rd-5th graders. To assess feasibility of implementation in an educational delivery setting, intervention materials was also tested with intended school providers. In Years 3-4, a pilot test was conducted to gather evidence of the promise of this new intervention for generating beneficial student outcomes by comparing outcomes achieved through typical SSGRIN implementation versus those achieved when SSGRIN is enhanced with the ISTS. Teacher- and student-report measures were collected before and after participation in the intervention to assess the following student outcomes: (a) social skill development, (b) positive and negative student behaviors, (c) school engagement, (d) academic performance, and (e) intervention engagement and satisfaction. Data from school providers was used to examine implementation fidelity, intervention processes, and feasibility, quality, and use of the ISTS. For each targeted student outcome, we conducted Multivariate Analyses of Variance to examine the magnitude and direction of change as a function of intervention condition (typical vs. ISTS enhanced). Descriptive (means, frequencies, correlations) statistics were calculated to examine evaluation and satisfaction ratings as well as software usage data (e.g., time spent on software, number of user errors).