ERIC Identifier: ED414516
Publication Date: 1995-00-00
Author: Bradshaw, Richard A.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Counseling and Student Services Greensboro NC., Canadian Guidance and
Counselling Foundation Ottawa (Ontario).
Delivery of Career Counseling Services: Videodisc &
Multimedia Career Interventions: ERIC Digest.
It is estimated that over one-third of Canada's high-school students will
drop out of school. (Employment & Immigration Canada, 1990). This is
devastating when one considers that two-thirds of the new jobs created between
now and the year 2000 will require qualifications beyond high school (Employment
& Immigration Canada, 1989). One of the great challenges to career
development professionals is how to motivate this massive "at-risk" youth
population (a) to persist with education & training through high school and
beyond, and (b) to take responsibility for, and action toward, their own career
development. The advent of multimedia computer technology has increased the
potential for "high impact" career interventions. This can be particularly
effective for at-risk youth, a population with extremely low motivation to use
Knowledge for Youth About Careers (KYAC) is one
such interactive, multimedia career program. Pilot-tests with youths aged 13-19
years suggest that it can improve motivation and can instill knowledge of (and
skills in) career decision-making, information interviewing, networking, and
KYAC is based on Weiner's (1984) attribution change theory and Bandura's
(1982) self-efficacy theory. The video scenes model career development skills
like information interviewing, networking, mentorships, and seeking assistance
with learning disabilities. Concerns such as persistence with math and science
courses; women in technology, trades, and management occupations; and minority
representation in all of the above, are also addressed. In addition to the
videodisc, CD-ROM disc, and computer diskettes, program materials include a
Facilitator Manual and Participant Workbook (photocopy master) with 32 hours of
classroom & workshop activities, a Research & Development Handbook, and
a Facilitator Guide to Scene Playback. The program operates on IBM PS2s and 486
DOS-based ISA computers
DESCRIPTION OF KYAC
In KYAC, students select one of two
main characters, (each character then ages from 17 to 28 years), by touching
their chosen character's face on the computer screen (decisions can also be made
using a mouse, but at-risk youth prefer touch-screen technology). One character
is a young man who has dropped out of high school and is now working as a
janitor. The other is a young woman (multiracial black/white) who is having
learning difficulties at school and is working part time as a waitress. A "grabber" scene (with rock music) introduces the two characters and the "future"
orientation of the program. The next scene to appear is a conversation between
the selected character and his or her future self. It was found that at-risk
youth much prefer this approach to the standard parent/teacher/counselor/'career
expert' giving advice. Such conversations occur several times throughout the
program. At the conclusion of each scene are two decision choices, represented
by animated graphics. Users touch the screen (or click the mouse) to make their
selections, and the computer plays an "outcome" scene, many of which have
time-delays (e.g., 1 1/2 years later) built into them. In some cases, the
computer selects outcome scenes based on probabilities; this allows the program
to be more consistent with real life since a given decision can have a variety
During scenes, the action "freezes" at key points, and small graphic
"thought-balloons" appear on the screen. These are used (a) to enhance user
identification with characters in the scenes, (b) to illustrate ineffective
beliefs and attitudes, and (c) to model effective, empowering career beliefs and
attitudes. If users touch (or click on) these thought-balloons within 2 seconds
of when they appear, they will hear what the character is thinking. If users do
not respond within 2 seconds, the icon fades and the video continues. In this
way, users actively seek the information in the thought-balloons and therefore
anticipate and attend to the information. This same principle applies to all of
the character decision sequences users request the outcomes of their own
decisions, so they are more alert when the information is presented or when
skills are modeled.
Approximately 2 1/2 hours of interaction time is available in the main
character decision sequences described above, although users can interrupt their
interaction at any time and pick it up on another occasion. In addition, 32
hours of classroom & workshop activities reinforce and provide more personal
application of the skills, knowledge, and attitudes presented in the video
scenes. The program has seven other sections:
*WHODUNIT: Information interviews with 44 people who
created KYAC using their own careers, which reinforces principles in the video
TO YOU THINK?: Re-purposing of the video scenes with multiple-choice questions
to promote critical thinking.
Allows facilitators to select scenes according to the concepts presented.
Allows program administrators to monitor user patterns (which characters, or
decisions, or program sections are selected most often).
Site administrators can enter local resources and contacts for 16 career and
An "inquiry mode" which allows users to "touch (or click on) what they want to
Allows facilitators to select from a scrolling list specific scenes according to
FIELD TESTING KYAC
In total, 275 youth participated in one
or more qualitative or quantitative evaluations of KYAC. Participants worked in
formative and controlled research settings. The highlights of the last study
(including 72 high-school students, 34 of which were "at-risk") are as follows:
Career Decision-Making Self-Efficacy Scale (Taylor & Betz, 1983) reflects
that the students in this study found better ways to resolve problems with
learning, math, reading, writing, exams, listening, concentrating, and
remembering; good reasons to finish high school; more assurance regarding choice
of occupation; reduced information needs about employment opportunities,
training, and job-finding; increased sense of the importance of (a) calling and
visiting employers or education/training sites for information interviews, (b)
setting up co-op education or work experience placements, (c) persisting with
problem-solving, (d) learning how to raise own self-esteem; increased
self-confidence and anticipation of enjoyment, and decreased anticipation of
hassle and discouragement from the above career tasks; and willingness to devote
more hours to the above career tasks.
on the Career Beliefs Inventory (Krumboltz, 1991) indicated greater willingness
to try hard despite possible failure, try alternative occupations, and disclose
career choices to others; belief that career obstacles could be overcome; and
belief that hard work is required for success.
students exposed to KYAC spent more time thinking about themselves and their
occupational futures, and talked more with other students about their
occupational future, were more aware of computer-assisted instruction and other
compensatory strategies for overcoming the effects of learning disabilities, and
made greater application of information interviewing, networking, cooperative
education, and work experience to their own 4-year career action plans.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
Multimedia, interactive, career
development interventions are particularly useful for at-risk youths, in that
they supplement more traditional approaches such as cooperative education, work
experience, and computer-assisted career guidance systems. Tools like KYAC are
particularly useful for motivating "at-risk" career program participants and for
modelling career implementation behaviors.
Bandura, A. (1982). Self-efficacy mechanism in
human agency. American Psychologist, 37, 122-147. Employment & Immigration
Canada. (1989). Success in the works: A profile of Canada's emerging workforce.
Ottawa, ON: Employment & Immigration Canada.
Employment & Immigration Canada. (1990). A national stay-in-school
initiative. Ottawa, ON: Employment & Immigration Canada.
Krumboltz, J. D. (1991). Manual for the Career Beliefs Inventory. Palo Alto,
CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
Taylor, K. M., & Betz, N. E. (1983). Applications of self-efficacy theory
to the understanding and treatment of career indecision. Journal of Vocational
Behavior, 22, 63-81.
Weiner, B. (1984). Principles for a theory of student motivation and their
application within an attributional framework. In R. Ames & C. Ames (Eds.),
Research on Motivation in Education (Vol. 1, pp. 15-38). Toronto, ON: Academic