Category Archives: Tutorial

First Steps: e-learning for adoption

first4adoptionWant to know more about what adopting a child will be like?

First Steps is a free e-learning package by First4Adoption to help potential adopters in the early stages of the adoption process get a better understanding of what adoption entails and help them decide if it really is the right choice for them.

First Steps provides real insights in to life as an adopter through video and audio episodes and online lessons. It captures the stories and views of social workers and adopters, both with first-hand experience of what adoption is like. The lessons have been designed to help adopters understand the issues they need to be aware of and crucially, give them tips on how they can be overcome.

The topics include:

  • Backgrounds of children and why they come into care
  • Attachment and its importance in adoption
  • Identity, heritage and life story work
  • Challenges and transitions to new situations

To access all the materials you’ll need to register – an email address is all that’s needed – and then you can track your progress and scores in the exercises you have completed. First Steps works equally well on phones, tablets and computers.

Visit First Steps here:


MindEd: free e-learning about kids mental health

logoThe new MindEd website is a free e-learning resource to help adults to identify and understand children and young people with mental health issues. It is aimed at everyone with a duty of care for children and young people, and already offers over 100 short e-learning sessions, with more to follow.

MindEd is completely free to use, with no registration required, although if you do sign up as a MindEd member (free) and complete several sessions, you can record your studying on your personal page and print it as a certificate for your learning record.

I tried five different Autism sessions from within MindEd’s curricula, ranging from introductory sessions aimed at a universal audience, through to a more specialised session. Each is between 20-30 minutes long, and is complete with learning objectives, interesting interactive tasks, case studies, short video clips with transcripts, and self-assessments that help you check what you have learnt. The sessions are colourful and attractive, and the references provided are up-to-date.

MindEd claims to be suitable for use on tablets, phones or computers, so I tried it on a contemporary Android smartphone, as well as a desktop computer. MindEd did not display well on the phone, and cannot be downloaded for offline use, so, for example, it might be difficult to use during commuting journeys.

Another characteristic to bear in mind is that there is no social dimension to MindEd – there are no student forums in which to debate the topics, which are a typical component of MOOCs such as Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People on Coursera or Foundations of Psychology on Open2Study. Perhaps MindEd is better thought of as an interactive reference library that you dip into when needed.

I am very impressed that this project has been created by a consortium of more than seven organisations, and can imagine the amount of work that it has taken. I’d encourage you to explore it – currently MindEd is available to anyone, wherever you are, although eventually users outside the UK may need to buy a licence to access the website. I’ll be very interested to hear your feedback and comments, as I am sure that I have only scratched the surface of this huge resource.

Understanding Attachment Theory by IRISS

Attachment by IRISSThe basic principles of attachment theory – and why it’s important – presented in a multimedia animation.
This resource defines attachment, examines the components of attachment theory, patterns of attachment behaviour as well as attachment, abuse and neglect.

This is one of 22 multimedia learning resources published by IRISS – Scotland’s Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services. The resources are designed for social work students and practitioners, but will also be valuable to others working with children and families, such as foster and adoptive carers.
Understanding Attachment Theory is a self-contained package including text transcripts, references and a glossary, divided into seven sections:
1. Defining attachment
2. The biological imperative
3. Main components of attachment theory
4. Patterns of attachment behaviour
5. Insecure attachment
6. Attachment is the product of a relationship
7. Attachment, abuse and neglect

The presentation will take at least 10-15 minutes, depending on your knowledge of the subject. I think the presentation summarizes the concepts well, but students are likely to need more up-to-date references than 1995. As with other IRISS resources, I appreciate how easy it is to navigate between the individual elements.


This multimedia presentation requires Adobe Flash Player on your computer, and the package cannot be downloaded for offline use. Copyright © Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services 2006. All rights reserved.