Simulation-based education is an integral component of health professionals' education with extensive empirical support for its effectiveness. Social work educators have traditionally used role plays in the classroom to teach social work practice. Our reviews however have found growing interest in the use of simulation to teach practice. For example, our critical review in 2011 found only 18 studies had been conducted (2013) and our current scoping review (in progress) found 50 studies in total, indicating that 32 studies have been conducted in the past seven years. Systematically designed simulations can provide an innovative approach to teaching crucial dimensions of social work practice and develop holistic competence; the demonstration of competence is informed by knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes (CSWE, 2015, p. 6).
One school of social work strategically embedded simulation-based learning and assessment of educational outcomes in the curriculum, with accompanying pedagogical research. Presenters at this roundtable have developed human simulations in teaching foundation year practice and practice in specialized fields. The session will involve presenters and participants sharing their teaching practices, including the varied methods of inquiry they use to identify the dynamics of teaching and learning using this approach.
The first and second presenter will provide a conceptualization of social work practice and the iterative process used to develop simulations, including inquiry methods to study and improve the pedagogy. They will also discuss using simulation to teach and assess generalist competencies for social work practice. The third presenter will illustrate the unique use of simulated expert interviews to teach and identify practice principles for clients experiencing elder abuse. The fourth presenter will focus on a simulation that demonstrates the tensions between managing risky behavior, sustaining a therapeutic alliance, and navigating decisions about maintaining confidentiality when working with adolescents. The fifth presenter will discuss enhancing competence in mental health using simulation-based learning. Participants will be asked to share their experiences in using simulation to teach practice and approaches used to investigate issues related to this form of education.
Council on Social Work Education. (2015a). Educational policy and accreditation standards (EPAS). Alexandria, VA: CSWE. https://www.cswe.org/getattachment/Accreditation/Accreditation-Process/2015-EPAS/2015EPAS_Web_FINAL.pdf.aspx