Session: Using Simulation-Based Learning to Teach Social Work Practice (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

88 Using Simulation-Based Learning to Teach Social Work Practice

Friday, January 17, 2020: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Monument, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Social Work Practice (SWP)
Marion Bogo, O.C., LL.D., MSW, RSW, University of Toronto, David Burnes, PhD, University of Toronto, Bryn King, PhD, University of Toronto, Toula Kourgiantakis, PhD, University of Toronto and Eunjung Lee, PhD, University of Toronto
The mission of social work education programs is “education of competent professionals” and the advancement of “scholarship of teaching and learning, and scientific inquiry into its multifaceted dimensions, processes, and outcome” (CSWE, 2015, p. 5). Field education is the curriculum component where students learn skillful practice, professional use of self, and integrate the conceptual material learned in courses. And yet, current research and scholarship on field education has identified a crisis with too few agency resources and experienced field instructors able to provide quality learning experiences for students. Accordingly social work educators have sought effective pedagogical approaches to develop practice competence in students and simulation-based education appears to be a promising enhancement.

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.

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