Virtual offender: a pilot project on nurturing social work students’ capacity to work with offenders

Jessica C.M. Li, Jeff K.T. Tang, Cindy X.S. Jia

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Although considerable literature conducted in the context of Western societies has concluded that the use of virtual reality (VR) technology can facilitate students’ learning, the applicability of this learning approach to nurturing social work students in the Chinese context remains uncertain. This pilot study empirically tests the effectiveness of VR technology in enhancing social work students’ perceived creativity and competence in working with offenders. The study uses mixed methods that include qualitative and quantitative procedures in a complementary manner. Survey data that capture the responses of 41 social work students collected in the pre-and post-test periods indicate a positive change in self-perceived confidence in handling offenders following the VR training session. The qualitative data generated from the focus groups echo the survey findings and provide insights into the use of VR technology in social work education. Issues and implications for innovative education in the social work profession are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-69
Number of pages14
JournalChina Journal of Social Work
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2019


  • creativity
  • Hong Kong
  • social work education
  • Virtual reality
  • working with offenders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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