Online, Blended or Flipped? Gatekeeper Training of Resident Assistants in a Macau University

  • W K Yeung

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


Gatekeeper training (GKT) equips university resident assistants (RAs) with the knowledge and ability to recognise and respond to students with mental health problems. Previous studies have focused on either face-to-face or the online mode of GKT, but what types of activities and how trainees take part in such training is not known. The present study addresses three research questions: 1) What are the impacts of training between the flipped, blended and online training modes?, 2) To what extent did the trainees of the three training modes engage in the training? and 3) What are the preferred training activities by the trainees?

The current research adopted a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. Seventy RAs in a Macau university were divided into three groups, each taking part in a GKT using a flipped (online followed by face-to-face), blended (face-to-face followed by online) or online training mode. Quantitative data were collected from a learner survey, a pre- and a post-training skills test and online course activity logs, which were analysed using descriptive statistics, t-tests and ANOVA. Qualitative data were also collected through focus groups and individual interviews, and analysed using the content analysis method.

All three modes exhibited positive training impacts. The online participants showed greater improvement in skills but limited improvement in efficacy. Meanwhile, the flipped mode was effective in building confidence of participants through practice and reflection, and it demonstrated more mental health first-aid efforts. The blended mode participants showed the least improvement amongst the three groups as they spent less effort on the course materials. Certain active learning activities, such as online dramatised videos and role play exercises, were more positively accepted than others.

Overall, the results suggest that the flipped mode is the most effective for new RAs. The online mode is good for returning RAs. The blended mode is ineffective as a means to encourage trainees to use material after training. The current study provides suggestions for future directions in designing, operating, assessing and researching training activities for RAs.
Date of Award12 May 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorSally B Barnes (Supervisor)

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