Beyond the “Sage on the Stage”: Helping Experts Become Effective Teachers

  • Douglas Behan Rutgers School of Social Work
Keywords: social work continuing education, adult learning theory, professional development


Social work continuing education programs are charged with providing quality training to support social workers in practice. These programs hold a gatekeeping role to ensure the programs they offer are scholarly, engaging, and practically useful for social workers. Traditional methods of teaching that rely primarily on a lecture format are still prevalent, particularly because most subject matter experts have not had formal training on effective teaching methods for adults. Optimal learning experiences for attendees are maximized when a continuing education program (a) has defined acceptance criteria for selecting the programs they offer and (b) provides support and tools to assist instructors in creating and delivering engaging training programs that are based on adult learning theory.