Teaching risk assessment and management skills to social care students using virtual reality simulations

Haider, Sharif (2024). Teaching risk assessment and management skills to social care students using virtual reality simulations. In: Baikady, Rajendra and Przeperski, Jarosław eds. The Routledge International Handbook of Social Work Teaching. Routledge International Handbooks. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 152–172.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003422402-11


Unlike the disciplines of education and business, the skills acquired in their training by social work students and practitioners through the use of virtual reality simulation (VRS) and computer-mediated simulation (CMS) have not been widely used. Several systematic reviews of VRS have, however, indicated their positive impact on learners. The didactic lecturer is still the only mechanism used to train social carework students. This is both expensive and ineffective. Recent research on UK social work students’ attitudes towards and acceptance of VRS as a pedagogical tool suggests that they are ready to engage with this type of technology and feel that it would improve their skills, in particular that of metacognition, due to its ability to provide an immersive real-life experience (Haider, 2019, 2021). By using this technology, they can also practice a number of skills repeatedly in a safe environment without causing harm to service users and carers.

This chapter presents a research study into the development and usability of how a virtual reality simulation trains social care students about risk assessment and management skills in the context of safeguarding adults in the community. In doing so, it will reveal the opportunities and challenges presented by the use of VRS in social care education. The chapter will also briefly describe how to develop a VRS to improve the delivery of social care education.

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