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The benefits of the Talking Mats On-line Training

I undertook the ‘Talking Mats’ on-line course to acquire a new skill and a way to enhance my communication with people with dementia in practice. I have found the learning strategies used are varied and interactive – so there is not a sense of sameness, even though visually there is a consistent layout to the presentation of each module (this expedites navigation). This enhances engagement and my interest so that I am never reticent in logging on to complete the next module! In the beginning, I felt that I could move a lot quicker through the course if the modules were available once each part was completed, instead of having to wait for feedback on each assignment. However, nearing the end of the training course, the benefits of this approach are now clearer. Spaced learning and spaced practice allows for thinking time and internalisation of the module components. In this way, I have come to appreciate the part skills involved in the overall process and how they come together. I now find myself observing the skills involved and the reactions of all communicating as well as the surrounding environment, body language etc. I have also found myself looking back over the past module materials to ensure I am integrating as I go and to remind myself of the rationales for the actions that need to be taken, as well as ensuring that I am more and more familiar with the new terminology that I have been exposed too.

Little did I know when I signed up that the benefits of learning about and how to use ‘Talking Mats’ would stretch wider than what I initially anticipated or wanted! In completing the course, I am now much more aware of my communication practice in general, and the part-skills involved. I can also now see the wide applicability of ‘Talking Mats’ to different populations, age groups and conditions. Communication is everywhere but it needs to be efficient and effective – I am now more confident that my communication practice will improve as a result of this course. For me this is the best outcome possible.

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