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Birley Place: a virtual community for the delivery of health and social care education


Virtual simulation can provide high-quality learning experiences through innovative and engaging activities while also overcoming some of the constraints associated with physical simulation. We developed a virtual community, called Birley Place, to facilitate simulation-based learning activities. Adopting a novel approach, we modelled the virtual community on the large metropolitan city in which our institution is based. Publicly available health and population data were used to ensure that the homes, businesses and services in the community were representative of distinct socioeconomic areas of our city. The residents of the virtual community were also matched with the real-world areas based on health and lifestyle data. Our virtual community is used to facilitate learning activities across our health and social care degree programmes. In this article, we summarise how we developed Birley Place, before providing one example of how it is used to facilitate the delivery of a large-scale interprofessional education project. Birley Place is an innovative tool for delivering online and virtual simulation. The use of this virtual community facilitates learners’ understanding of the connection between settings and health status.

  • simulation
  • education
  • interprofessional education
  • computer simulation

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