Safeguarding Children Online Experiential Learning Simulation Awarded Gold at The Learning Awards

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Toolwire and Leeds Metropolitan University collaboration earns “External Learning Project of the Year”

By combining Toolwire LearnScapes with the high quality content developed by Leeds Metropolitan’s academic staff, we are able to develop social workers who are optimally equipped for work on the front line of child protection.

The Learning and Performance Institute, a global institute for learning and development professionals, has awarded Toolwire and Leeds Metropolitan University a Gold Medal for “External Learning Project of the Year” at their annual event, The Learning Awards. The award-winning project enables students to gain such Social Work experience through an interactive photorealistic immersive learning environment known as a Toolwire LearnScape.

The Leeds Metropolitan Safeguarding Children LearnScape is an online learning experience that replicates challenging child protection scenarios. ‘Real-life’ characters guide students through a multi-branching story that delivers learning content, assesses progress, and helps students to revisit topics until they are proficient. This learning tool enables students to practice the behaviourial skills that are hard to teach in a traditional classroom and are typically developed through years of work experience.

“The Munro Review of Child Protection (2011) cited that ‘Theory and research are not always well integrated with practice and there is a failure to align what is taught with the realities of contemporary social work practice,’” commented Sarah Frame, Director of Business Development, EMEA at Toolwire. “By combining Toolwire LearnScapes with the high quality content developed by Leeds Metropolitan’s academic staff, we are able to address this issue to develop social workers who are optimally equipped for work on the front line of child protection. Students are under immense pressure to digest and retain complex information, but the stakes are even higher when graduates are asked to apply that knowledge in sensitive real life situations where children’s lives are at stake.”

Professor Sally Glen, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Leeds Metropolitan University, commented, “We are pioneering the use of online Experiential Learning to ensure our students have the highest quality learning experience. It is incredibly beneficial to provide a technology-based solution that students can complete in their own time and without the self-consciousness that can sometimes be apparent in classroom-based role-play. In addition, we are responding to national concerns around the adequate preparation of social workers. In line with the Munro Review, we want our graduates to be properly equipped to deliver child protection in a multi-disciplinary setting. The immersive learning enables students to understand and experience how to work as part of an inter-professional team, which includes police, healthcare and probation officers characters. We believe this greater understanding will produce social workers who are able to work more effectively as part of a multi-agency team.”

John Valencia, Toolwire President and CEO commented, “We are deeply honoured to win this prestigious Learning & Performance Institute award. This new learning tool, which is now available for use by other institutions, exemplifies the power of online Experiential Learning to develop the social worker of tomorrow. Aside from the accolades, it is immensely gratifying to know that our learning solutions are not only helping to strengthen education programmes and enhance student learning, but they also contribute to improving society as a whole by training professionals responsible for protecting the lives of children.”

Notes to Editor

About Toolwire
Toolwire is a learning and technology solutions provider specialising in products and services for Experiential Learning. Empowering Higher Education and corporate training institutions to deliver immersive "virtual internships" across a broad range of subject areas including Business, Health Care, Social Work, Law, Information Technology, and more, Toolwire’s experiential learning solutions provide the quickest, most effective way to develop skills, improve knowledge retention, and enhance student success.

About Leeds Metropolitan University
Leeds Metropolitan University has over 27,000 students and around 2,800 staff. The Vice Chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University is Professor Susan Price, the Chancellor is Sir Bob Murray and the Chair of the Board is Lord Woolmer of Leeds. Leeds Metropolitan’s four faculties are: Arts, Environment and Technology, Business & Law, Health and Social Sciences, and Carnegie. The Destination of Leavers in Higher Education (DLHE) showed that the proportion of Leeds Metropolitan 2010/11 graduates in work, further study or both six months after leaving university was 91.87%. Libraries and Learning Innovation at Leeds Metropolitan was awarded the CSE standard for the tenth year running in 2012. In 2012, Leeds Metropolitan was awarded a ‘First’ in the People & Planet Green League, a league table of environmentally friendly universities, for the sixth consecutive year.

About the Learning and Performance Institute
The Learning and Performance Institute is a global institute for learning and development professionals. Through an unrivaled range of membership, certification, accreditation, events and bespoke consultancy services, the Institute focuses on enhancing and recognising the skills and professional status of individuals and organisations engaged in learning activities, and assessing the quality of learning services. Established in 1995, the Learning and Performance Institute consists of over 3,000 individual members and 400 accredited organisations. For information, visit

About The Learning Awards
The Learning and Performance Institute hosts the annual Learning Awards to recognise outstanding examples of high standards, best practice, innovation and excellence within the Learning & Development industry. The awards are presented at The Dorchester, Park Lane, London, at the Institute's prestigious Awards Dinner, held in February each year.

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