of learners complete simulations in their entirety the first time through.
of learners rated their simulation feedback and results as "accurate and helpful” or “exceptionally insightful."
of learners improved their empathy scores within a two week period.
The Immersive Practicum Lab experience provides more than just acquiring knowledge; it serves as a dynamic platform for experiential learning, active engagement, and practical application. Learners actively participate in high-fidelity simulations, immersing themselves in realistic scenarios that empower them to make critical decisions and learn from mistakes within a safe environment. They receive real-time feedback on the crucial aspect they need most before working with real patients: soft skills and empathy.


Over the past decade, we've meticulously refined our curriculum strategies through comprehensive research and practical application, beginning with our trailblazing Virtual Field Placement program at the University of Southern California in 2012. This initial endeavor set the stage for the creation of the Virtual Field Experience in 2020, a fully immersive educational platform that integrates our accumulated insights and methodologiesUnder the leadership of our Vice President of Curriculum, Dr. Gary Wood, Ph.D., LCSW—who has earned the Best Practices Gold Award for Online Distance Learning Programming—our approach uniquely combines simulation with cinematic pedagogy. Having honed this model, we've now adapted it to be seamlessly integrated into any educational program, making these validated teaching strategies accessible to learners globally.
Higher Competency Scores
The VFP group, on average, had higher mean scores for every competency and had significant higher mean score in the following competencies: social justice (p=.046), evidence-based practice (p=.023) and policy (p=.014).
Higher Performance in the Field
Overall, at the end of the fourth semester of field practicum, the VFP students performed just as well, and in some competencies higher, than their traditional student counterparts.
Increased Learning and Retention
The use of simulation is widespread in education across professions for good reasons. By definition it is an experiential activity, which enhances learning and retention. Feedback is immediately available, and mistakes are welcomes as learning opportunities.
Advantage Over On-Ground Internships
Students had significantly higher competency scores in professionalism, ethics, thinking and judgment, cultural competency, social justice, evidence-based practice, and person in environment compared to traditional students.
Comparing the competency scores of students who utilized Genius Academy curriculum versus those in traditional on-ground internships at the end of the first semester. Each competency shows a higher score for students in the Genius Academy, illustrating their enhanced performance across the board. ​
Relevant Publications by Dr. Gary Wood
The Use of Simulation Experiences to Develop Practice Skills: A Quantum Leap in Field Education(2019) Wood GT et Phillips ES In: R. Paul Maiden (ed), The Transformation of Social Work.
The Transformation of Social Work Through Virtual Learning, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
A Virtual Field Practicum: Building Core Competencies Prior to Agency Placement. (2018). PhillipsES, Wood GT, Yoo J, Ward KS, Hsiao SC, Singh MI, et Morris B. Journal of Social Work Education.
Launching the Virtual Academic Center: Issues and Challenges in Innovation. (2014). Flynn M,Maiden RP, Smith W, Wiley JT, et Wood GT. In: P.A. Kurzman and RP Maiden (eds), Distance Learningand Online Education in Social Work (pp. 118-128) London: Routledge.
Teaching MSW Social Work Practice in a Blended Online Learning Environment. (2014). LevinWhiteside & Wood, G. (2014). In: PA Kurzman and RP Maiden (ed), Distance Learning and Online Education In Social Work (pp 83-85). London: Routledge.


"The system represents a monumental step forward in our educational methodologies, providing realistic, dynamic scenarios that prepare practitioners for the unpredictable nature of therapeutic and social work."

Lastenia Francis, PhD, LMFT​
Asst. Professor, Syracuse University

"The innovative 'IPL II' system...has the potential to bring about transformative changes to the landscape of experiential learning in social work and beyond."

Ciara G. Warden, LISW
Instructor, University of Nebraska at Omaha

“By simulating real-life scenarios, this platform allows students to hone their skills, test their responses, and receive immediate feedback in a way traditional educational settings seldom permit."

William B. Lane Jr., Ph.D., LPCC-S, NCC, BC-TMH​
Program Lead and Asst. Professor, Western New Mexico University

"The integration of immersive simulations and AI-driven experiences in IPL II provides a unique opportunity for our students to engage in realistic, complex scenarios that mirror the challenges they will face in their professional careers."

Dr. April L. Jones, LMSW, PhD, M.ED, MS, MSW, BA
Department Chair and Assoc. Professor, Tuskegee University

“The VCX simulations significantly are core for our students and enrich the teaching experience for our esteemed faculty members. The VCX simulations are formally incorporated into our syllabi. Both students and faculty look forward to experiencing these engaging and innovative simulations each semester.  They have resulted in a deeper understanding of complex concepts, as well as, equip our students with enhanced “soft skills” which is one of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) competencies, sought after by most employers.”

Dean Maureen Becker
Dean, School of Health Sciences and Professional Programs at CUNY York College