Simulation Technology Provides Real Benefit to Social Work Students

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

UNCW’s School of Social Work prepares students to work with individuals and communities struggling with the challenges of poverty, discrimination, health and mental health issues and other difficulties.

Through a $500,000 grant awarded to the Council on Social Work Education by the Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration to expand substance use disorder practitioner education in social work, students’ classroom experience is being enhanced by virtual Kognito simulations. The technology allows students to role play conversations with virtual humans who are emotionally unresponsive so they learn to initiate conversations through practice and personalized feedback.

"Simulation-based learning is emerging as a promising innovative method for preparing students for the real world, in health and human services,” said College of Health and Human Services Dean Charles J. Hardy. “While traditional approaches to clinical education are found in all of our academic programs, our faculty and students are readily embracing technological advances that have expanded our educational frameworks/methods in exciting and effective ways."

Noell Rowan, professor and associate director of the School of Social Work, would like to continue to use Kognito simulations, touting the benefits of virtual learning in teaching students to engage, assess and complete an evidence-based intervention.

“I think it’s really the smarter way to teach with interprofessional teams in simulations as a way to prepare and provide more efficient healthcare in the real world once people graduate,” she said.

Learn more about the pilot program here.

-- Caroline Cropp