Development of a virtual reality simulation for practitioners

Simpson, J. E.; Haider, S. and Giddings, L. (2023). Development of a virtual reality simulation for practitioners. Social Work Education; The International Journal [Early Access].



Within social work education there has been extensive interest and use of simulation for learning purposes. In recent years, this interest has broadened to the use of Virtual Reality Simulation (VRS) for teaching because of the benefits that include a safe environment in which to learn, flexibility and self-efficacy. Several examples of VRS have been developed that range from specifically designed computer-based programs through to Google Cardboard VR. While such efforts are to be lauded, what is missing is a deliberate attempt to build on the knowledge of such developments. This article will detail the creation and implementation of a VRS with Social Work and Early Help practitioners, but unlike previous examples, the study builds on the practitioners’ sense of presence and reality. In doing so, it was found that the practitioners’ practice experience and knowledge influenced their perception of the VRS. This finding has significant implications for the development of VRS for social work, in particular showing that there is a need to make a distinction between students and practitioners, and to appreciate that learners are not passive beings.

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