A Simulated Placement: Using a Mixed-Reality Learning Environment for Social Work Field Education

Article


Harris, S. and Newcomb, M.. 2023. "A Simulated Placement: Using a Mixed-Reality Learning Environment for Social Work Field Education." Australian Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1080/0312407X.2023.2231416
Article Title

A Simulated Placement: Using a Mixed-Reality Learning Environment for Social Work Field Education

ERA Journal ID34191
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsHarris, S. and Newcomb, M.
Journal TitleAustralian Social Work
Number of Pages14
Year2023
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Place of PublicationAustralia
ISSN0312-407X
1447-0748
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/0312407X.2023.2231416
Web Address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0312407X.2023.2231416
AbstractCOVID-19 presented fresh challenges for social work field education, requiring agile and innovative solutions. To address the scarcity of direct client-facing placements during the extended and unpredictable public health restrictions, Australian Catholic University (ACU) created the Simulated Placement Experience (SPE) for final-year students. The program immersed students into nine practice scenarios over a two-week (70-hour) intensive placement. Real-time feedback and reflective coaching sessions with a social work supervisor offered students enhanced learning and development opportunities applicable to multiple service settings and client presentations. The program was well received by participating final-year students, who highlighted that the experience enhanced their ability to perform and critically reflect on their direct practice skills. This article outlines the model and the initial evaluation of the pilot program using a Student Satisfaction of Simulation Survey tool. The findings of this evaluation reveal the potential for simulation to provide novel, valuable learning experiences to social work students for practice placements. IMPLICATIONS COVID-19 restrictions presented an opportunity for social work field education programs to rethink the structure and nature of placement learning. Simulation-based learning provides social work students with enhanced learning and increased confidence as part of direct practice placements. There is scope to include supported simulation-based learning to enhance future social work field education programs; however, discipline-specific simulation standards and conceptual frameworks are needed.
KeywordsField Education; Simulation; Social Work Education; Australia; Practice Placements
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440901. Clinical social work practice
440902. Counselling, wellbeing and community services
440903. Social program evaluation
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Psychology and Wellbeing
Queensland University of Technology
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