Social work students undergoing training though the Open University
will undertake their practice placement from the comfort of their
The Open University is developing “virtual practice environment”
projects that will simulate a practice environment.
It will allow them to manage a virtual caseload, which will involve
prioritising clients to reduce budget overspends.
Electronic assessment forms will allow students to score virtual
clients in terms of their dependency, risk and quality of life. The
software also includes a facility for audio-conferencing that
allows for case conferencing to be simulated.
Project co-ordinator Roger Gomm said: “The project addresses a
problem associated with distance learning for professional
development, which is that some students do not have access to
practice environments. Using virtual practice environments
compensates for this.”