Simulation-based learning is an integral component of health professionals' education and related research is recognized as an important scholarly endeavour. Social work educators have traditionally used role play in the classroom to link theory and practice, and relied on field education to teach the application of theory in practice. Systematically designed simulations provide an innovative approach to teaching the dimensions of holistic competence; “the demonstration of competence is informed by knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes” (CSWE, 2015, p. 6). Interest in developing an empirical base for simulation-based education in social work is a more recent development. For example, a critical appraisal of studies on simulation in social work education conducted in 2011 found that only 18 studies had been conducted (Authors, 2013). In our current scoping review, we found 53 studies in total, indicating that 35 studies have been conducted in the past seven years.
The presenters have developed and tested an approach to using simulation in teaching and assessing holistic competence in social work. This model emanated from numerous studies and ongoing research illuminating the dynamics of teaching and learning (Authors, 2014; 2017), as well as demonstrating its effectiveness in educational outcomes assessment (Authors, 2011; 2017). The aim of this roundtable is to convene and develop a community of simulation researchers/scholars in social work education. Specific goals are to share innovative approaches using simulation in teaching and assessment of holistic competence, to share research designs to study this educational approach, to link colleagues who may collaborate in future research, and ultimately to set a research agenda for simulation-based social work education. Lessons learned from colleagues in health professions' education research can be shared in this endeavour (Issenberg, Ringsted, Østergaard, & Dieckmann, 2011).
The first presenter will describe ways in which simulation is being used in teaching and in assessing students' competence. Participants will be asked to share their experiences in using simulation. Presenter two will discuss research designs used, and participants will be asked to share their approaches to studying student learning through simulation. Measures for assessing holistic competence will be made available. Presenter three will address facilitators, challenges, and solutions for conducting research, eliciting participants' experiences. Presenter four will lead the discussion on setting a research agenda for social work education.