Background: Complex physiological processes are often difficult for midwifery students to comprehend when using traditional teaching and learning approaches. Face to face instructional workshops using simulation have had some impact on improving understanding. However, in the 21st century new technologies offer the opportunity to provide alternative learning approaches.
Aim: To investigate the impact of using three-dimensional (3D) visualisation in midwifery education on student's experience of learning, and retention of knowledge at three points in time.
Design: A pilot study involving a two-armed parallel Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) comparing the retention of knowledge scores between the control and intervention groups.
Setting: An Australian University in the Northern Territory.
Participants: The sample included second year Bachelor of Midwifery students (n = 38). All received traditional midwifery education before being randomly allocated to either the intervention (n = 20) or control (n = 18) group.
Methods: A new immersive virtual environment was introduced to complement existing traditional midwifery education on the third stage of labour. This intervention was evaluated using a demographic survey and multiple-choice questionnaire to collect baseline information via Qualtrics. To measure change in knowledge and comprehension, participants completed the same multiple-choice knowledge questionnaire at three time points; pre, immediately post and at 1 month post intervention. In addition, the intervention group completed a 3D student satisfaction survey.
Results: Baseline knowledge scores were similar between the groups. A statistically significant increase in knowledge score was evident immediately post intervention for the intervention group, however there was no significant difference in knowledge score at one month.
Conclusions: The results support the creation of further three-dimensional visualisation teaching resources for midwifery education. However, a larger randomised controlled study is needed to seek generalisation of these findings to confirm enhanced student learning and retention of knowledge post 3DMVR, beyond the immediate exposure time.