Date of Dissertation


Document Type

Banded Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Robin R. Whitebird


Social Work


This banded dissertation is an examination of simulation as a pedagogy for social work education. While the Council of Social Work Education recognizes simulation as an accepted pedagogy, there remains little research on its use in social work education. To effectively utilize and structure simulation within the curriculum, more needs to be understood about its influences on social work student development and its fit within the social work educational context.

The first product of this dissertation, a conceptual paper, presents a framework for the use of simulation in social work education. The framework consists of three elements: holistic competency as the aim of social work education, a model of curriculum as engagement for the vehicle through which programmatic culture is established, and experiential learning theory as a foundational learning theory. The author demonstrates alignment between the pedagogy of simulation with the aims, culture, and theory which inform social work education.

The second product is a research study, examining the influence of participation in repeated simulations on social work student development in clinical skills. Addressing a gap in the literature, this study utilized a nine-month qualitative design to explore student experiences with three simulations over the course of two semesters. Based on the findings, the author proposes a conceptual model for student growth in metacognition and self-regulation, utilizing multiple simulation experiences.

The third product is an interactive eposter presentation given at the Council on Social Work Education 2018 Annual Program Meeting. This eposter summarizes research findings from the second banded dissertation product and incorporates practice experience in simulations for interprofessional education. Conclusions address the need for alignment between simulation learning objectives and simulation frequency.

Simulation is a strong pedagogy for social work education, allowing for holistic engagement in learning. A better understanding of its influence on social work students allows educators to leverage the benefits of the pedagogy to align with identified learning objectives. Further research can build on the proposed conceptual model in Product Two as well as explore the use of simulation in an online environment.

Included in

Social Work Commons