Social work, practice placement, practicum, practice learning, student experiences
Social work fieldwork placements are recognised as a key component of social work education. This article analyses the experiences of students who have completed one social work placement and examines what they felt was most effective in aiding their learning. The innovative methodology used for the research enabled first year students to design an on-line survey which they administered to their second year student colleagues. The first year students gained experience in designing and administering a piece of research, but also gained a greater understanding of what previous students have found assisted their learning on placement. This cross-sectional research surveyed accessed the 2014/15 cohort of year 1 and year 2 Masters in Social Work (MSW) students. Students reported how prepared they felt for placement and also who or what facilitated their learning on placement. Students’ perception of the volume of learning on placement was strongly correlated with satisfaction. It is argued that being able to clearly identify types of interaction that enhance students’ learning, leads to more positive outcomes for all involved in the placement experience.