Social work education through distance learning: the challenges and opportunities

Vicary, Sarah; Copperman, Jeanette and Higgs, Alison (2018). Social work education through distance learning: the challenges and opportunities. Social Work Education; The International Journal, 37(6) pp. 685–690.



This special edition sets out to explore the challenges and the opportunities of providing social work education through distance learning and seeks to gather evidence from contemporary international sources. As we discovered, the topic invites debate, sometimes controversial. Our call attracted a wide range of papers from an equally wide-ranging number of countries which has both pleased and surprised and is a momentum upon which we plan to build.
The phrase distance learning itself is not a single construct but it is nonetheless used in this shorthand way as if it were. When applied to the education of social workers the lack of clarity of definition deepens. First therefore in this editorial we seek to provide some clarification of terminology and the different ways in which it is used. Next, we provide context and in particular the underpinning arguments that support or oppose educating social workers in this way. Each paper in this special issue is then summarised in the context of this framework and of the new knowledge they bring. We conclude with the recommendations that have emerged.

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